A nonpareil, donning a white uniform with a double nelson under the star emblem. Holding a black and red striped willow and entering the ground among a cacophony of cheers from the crowd. Their faces glow more and more each time the paragon moves closer to the ground where the opposition awaits him. The opposition, whose faces suddenly become sepulchral while they continuously try to push away the thoughts of what they have to deal with now. However, he, the beast, walks unperturbed by his surroundings and enters the arena as if taking a walk in a park. He waits each time a bowler runs towards him to deliver his best ball but each time his finesse correctly scans the ball, doing with it just what is required to do.
No Escape From His Prowess
Some balls go running to the boundaries while fielders fall in their failed attempts to impede its course. While some balls stay on the pitch as the quirky batter blocks them gracefully. However, some rebellious balls which plot to cross his defence and try to land at his toes are reprimanded by the willow in his hands. He stays and bats while the sun goes down. The sun comes out again the next day yet he still remains standing. Everyone’s running out of their resources. Pundits from their words of praise. The opposition from their weapons outdoes him. The exception is only him, who has the answer to everything coming towards him.
Should We Carve A New Name On The Fab 4 Board?
The headlines shine with the words ‘Babar Azam’, some critics call him one of the modern greats, the modern greats call him inimitable and he keeps on creating his magic each time he enters the ground. Like a magician, who baffles everyone with a new magic trick each time, this maestro surprises those inhabiting the priory of cricket with his performances. Whenever he comes to bat, the same words keep ringing in the ears of each aficionado of this game, maybe it is about time he breaks into the club of the Fab 4, forcing one of them out and staying there, as he should.
Who Will Leave The FAB 4 Club?
But who of the fab 4 should be pulled out? The question is a real head-scratcher. Why, you may think. Let me explain why. However great Babar has become because of his consistent incredible performances, his stay in the international cricket arena has not even been a decade old yet. Then again, the men of Fab 4 (Steve Smith from Australia, Joe Root from England, Kane Williamson from New Zealand and Virat Kohli from India) are not called so because of the number of years they have given in the service but because of the justice, they have done to those years. Their consistency in keeping on making and breaking records is what makes them great. Undoubtedly, the Lahore-born has effortlessly been consistent with amassing piles of runs for half a decade now. The following table shows how clinical he has been with the bat since the start of 2019.
|(1st Jan 2019-3rd Jan 2023)||Innings||Runs||Average||50s||100s|
Virat Kohli’s Dry Path; A stain on his career
As can be seen from the table above, Virat Kohli, the only Asian from the Fab 4, has been stuck in a lean patch since the last pages of 2019. If sneaking into the Fab 4 had a straight gate, Babar, by now, would have made his way to the camp, unthroning Kohli. However, the gate is not as simple, there’s a labyrinth with several layers of security which have to be crossed before one can take a seat among the greats. All of the Fab 4 have been around for more than 10 years now, but Babar has not. Citing this, many pundits argue that it is too early to make debates about inducting the Pakistani skipper into the Fab 4 because he has only played 3 shy of 50 test matches so far. Babar, according to them, is yet to take the ‘Test of the time’.
Babar the Lone Coxwain of the Pakistan Boat
At the same time, the milieu of Babar’s show in whites can not be thrown out of the window while solving this conundrum. Up until the start of 2021, there were not many of his compatriots who were aiding him while he swayed on the path of glory. For instance, during Virat Kohli’s peak years in 2016-2019, he had many players from his country who, like him, sat in the top 10 Test batters ranking including Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara. Unfortunately for Babar, he had to top the role of an archetype, carrying his team and making sure the failures of his fellow batters don’t hurt the team, while also making his own figures as decent as possible. This is evident from the fact that even now, the closest Pakistan batter to the top 10 ICC test ranking is the 27th-positioned batter, Saud Shakeel. This in itself is a challenge comparable to any test the time has to present
Famine of Kohli’s Away Centuries
Interestingly, the seat Babar is likely to occupy in the Fab 4 coterie belongs, currently, to Virat Kohli. The Indian right-hander has not been doing enough to avert this coup d’état. The last time the 34-year-old scored an away century was on 14th December 2018 in Perth. Since then, he has featured in 32 away innings but has failed to reach a three-figured score in each of them. Also since then, his rival across the Wagah border has scored 2 away centuries playing nearly 6 innings less than him.
Keeping the aforementioned facts in mind, one becomes certain that Babar Azam is more deserving of a place in the Fab 4 club than anyone else and now more so when we have someone who is failing to match the stature of this elite camp.