World Test Championship: Ever since cricket found its genesis, there has been a predominance of right-handed players and it is an extremely rare incident to make peace with a left-hander running riot.
However, the predominance of right-handers has also shunned the artistry in the game as it is more of brutal combat of striking the cherry as hard as you can or kissing the deck with all your force in the current days.
Yet, the World Test Championship brought out the absolute best of right-handers in the longest format of the sport. It took them a gruelling two years and a hellacious hammering of an urge to make the cut for the finals to converge at the greatest stage.
In this story, we will take a look at a team of eleven right-handed cricketers who wreaked havoc throughout the World Test Championship to establish an empire of their own.
Rohit Sharma and Tom Latham
Rohit Sharma was the most menacing opener throughout the championship with no regard for caution whatsoever. He made absolute merry against the bowlers in any continent that he played in. He was gracious, to say the least, and the carnage that he imposed upon the bowlers was a carnival to witness. He was summoned late to the Championship when India’s repeated experiment with openers failed. He could only play 12 Test matches that saw him starring in 19 innings. He amassed 1094 runs at an extraordinary average of 60. He also managed to clobber 4 centuries and 2 half-centuries.
Tom Latham was a consistent part of New Zealand’s revolution in the World Test Championship. He provided an extraordinary sense of reliability at the top if the Kiwi order. He played 12 Test matches and managed to garner 719 runs at a decent average of 37.84. He knocked 1 century and 5 half-centuries in the entire campaign.
Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschange, Ajinkya Rahane, Babar Azam, Joe Root
Steven Smith is just the beginning of what one would label as an extra-terrestrial batting order. The Australian batsman overcame herculean odds to linger around in the middle for an overwhelming period of time. He made his return against England in the Ashes and was a part of every single act of hostility that one may have to encounter. He had to face the glacial English crowd, the deafening catcalls that labelled him as a cheat, the formidable might of Jofra Archer and yet he sustained himself against an avalanche of odds to hammer his way to glory. He played 13 Test matches and featured in 22 innings that bore witness to him striking 1341 runs at an extraordinary average of 63.85.
The introduction of Marnus Labuschange to the World Test Championship was singular in its own way. He became the first concussion substitute in the history of Test cricket when Steven Smith was knocked down by a brutal bouncer from Jofra Archer. Archer probed his ribs twice with a couple of nasty deliveries. He finally unleashed hell upon Smith with a piece of untenable sweet chin music. Marnus’ introduction got a bit sour after he too copped a sustainable blow from Archer. However, it was this youngster’s grit that saw him evolving over the years to climb to the perch. He played 13 Test matches and garnered 1675 runs at an extraordinary average of 72.82. He stitched together 5 centuries and 9 half-centuries, establishing himself as one of the Australian batting mainstays.
Rahane’s recent form has been a major spot of bother for the Indians. In fact, the discussions to find an alternate have also started brewing. However, throughout the span of the entire tournament, he was pretty sublime. He played in 18 Test matches, featuring in 30 innings. He managed to pull off 1159 runs at an average of 42. He managed to club 3 centuries and 6 half-centuries.
Babar Azam has started sparking comparisons with Indian run-machine, Virat Kohli. The Pakistani batting general carved a few exquisite strokes effortlessly and has been evolving those starts into big knocks recently. In the World Test Championship, Azam has played 10 matches featuring in 17 innings. He scored 932 runs at an astonishing average of 66.57, spearheading Pakistan’s batting charge.
The English skipper has been in sensational form throughout the glittering span of the World Test Championship. The man played a rollicking season starring in 20 matches. He managed to garner 1660 runs at a stunning average of 47. He hammered three centuries and eight half-centuries in the two-year haul.
Ravichandran Ashwin, Pat Cummins, Tim Southee, Nathan Lyon
Ravichandran Ashwin has been one of India’s primary bowling threats throughout the World Test Championship. He found renewed form in the Australian series and continued with his carnage back in India and England. He claimed a staggering 71 wickets at a decent bowling average of 20.33.
Pat Cummins has now turned into the spearhead of the Australian triptych that comprises him, Hazlewood and Starc. Cummins is also one of the best Test bowlers at the moment and 70 wickets from 14 Test matches at a brilliant average of 21.02.
Tim Southee was one of the major architects of New Zealand in the hallowed WTC finale. He continued with his onslaught throughout the fray as he managed to claim 56 scalps from eleven matches at an average of 20. His emphatic showdown against England and India proved why he is one of the most significant seam options for the Black Caps.
Nathan Lyon will undoubtedly be the perfect companion to Ashwin, given his expertise, his resilience and his ability to break crucial partnerships. He played 14 Test matches and claimed 56 wickets that featured 4 fivers throughout the campaign.