Steven Smith – Australia
The undisputed best batsman in the world of Test cricket over the last 2 years, Steve Smith is a true modern marvel. A late bloomer who had actually joined the team as a leg-spinner who could bat a bit, Smith has gone from strength to strength, especially after the tragic death of his best friend Phil Hughes on the pitch.
In just 131 innings, Smith has managed to score 7227 runs at an extraordinary average of 62.84. He has hit 26 centuries and 29 half-centuries over the years, and has a highest score of 239. Smith crossed the 1000 run barrier four years in a row between 2014-2017, becoming the only batsmen to ever do that. In 2018 he got banned for 12 months for that infamous ball-tampering scandal along with David Warner and Bancroft.
He was dearly missed by Australia during that time, and came back as strong as ever to have a magical series in England, as Australia retained the Ashes with a brilliant performance across all 4 tests. Smith scored 774 runs in just 7 innings, including back to back centuries in both innings of the first test match. His average during the series was an unreal 110, firmly placing him top of the Test batting rankings. Smith is a very unorthodox batsman, who is very entertaining to watch with his quirky batting stance and even quirkier leaves.
Virat Kohli – India
The undisputed king of the IPL the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Indian cricket currently, Virat Kohli is firmly regarded as one of the best batsmen in the world across all 3 formats, if not the best. Kohli is the only batsman in the world to average more than 50 in all 3 formats of the game.
He already has 70 centuries to his name, with a staggering 43 of them coming in ODI’s. Kohli has already broken several records which have been untouched for decades, and is coming very close to breaking more records, most of which are currently held by the Little Master Sachin Tendulkar.
Kohli is a very aggressive batsman who relies on technique as well as pure timing. He loves to embrace the challenge of taking on the very best of bowlers around the world, and more often than not comes out on top. He plays every single shot to perfection, and has a huge selection of shots he has mastered. Kohli was selected as the captain of the ICC Test Team Of The Year for 3 consecutive years from 2017-2019, and won the Test Cricketer Of The Year award in 2018.
In just 145 innings, Kohli has scored 7240 runs at an incredible average of 53.63. He has hit 27 centuries and 22 half-centuries and has a highest score of 254. Kohli crossed the 1000 run barrier 3 years in a row between 2016 and 2018, establishing himself as one of the all-time best Test batsmen in the world.
Marnus Labuschane – Australia
The newest kid on the block, who has well and truly barged into the erstwhile Big 4 of Root, Kohli, Smith and Williamson. Labuschane made his debut in 2018 against Pakistan in Dubai, however it was the legendary 2019 Ashes series where the next Aussie test star was born.
Handed the very daunting task of replacing an in-form but injured Steven Smith in the crucial series, 25 year old Marnus Labuschane stepped up and assumed the responsibility better than anyone would have expected. He became the first ever concussion substitute in Test Cricket, and walked onto the Lord’s pitch amid an array of lethal bouncers from the English pacers. Against all odds and expectations he played a very gutsy knock of 59 to keep Australia in the game, and then went from strength to strength in the series, ending up with 353 runs at an average of 50.43.
He followed that brilliant form with back to back centuries against Pakistan, and scored a third consecutive century in the first test against New Zealand, ending the year 1104 runs, the only batsman in the world with more than 1000 test runs in 2019. He started 2020 with a band, with a brilliant double century against New Zealand, and within 2 years of his test career, has already scored 1459 runs in just 14 tests, at an amazing average of 63.43, below only Sir Donald Bradman.
He has hit 4 centuries and 8 half-centuries, and also has 12 wickets to his name, making him a handy emergency bowler. Marnus has everything it takes to be one of the undisputed best Test batsmen in the world in the coming years.
Kane Williamson – New Zealand
One of the finest Test cricket batsmen to ever come out of New Zealand, the Kiwi skipper is a class act on and off the pitch. The way he handles himself on the pitch as well as during press conferences, he has single handedly ensured New Zealand have earned the image of being the nicest guys in this sport.
The most infamous moment of his career was undoubtedly when the World Cup trophy was cruelly snatched from him after a double-tie in the final against England in 2019. However, he still averages over 47 in ODI’s and an incredible 52.55 in Test Cricket, where he has amassed 6727 runs in just 141 innings. Williamson has 22 centuries to his name, with a highest score of 251, scored against West Indies recently, where he led his team to a huge win by an innings and 134 runs.
Williamson peaked in Test cricket in 2015, when he scored 1172 runs in the calendar year at an unreal average of 90.2. However he has been in sublime form of late as well, scoring 6 test centuries since the beginning of 2018, and consistently maintaining an average of above 50. In 2020, he has scored 348 runs in just 4 innings, at an average of 87, to prove he is still one of the very best test batsmen around.
Kane Williamson’s technique always delights the purists, with his wristy drives and ability to counter the short ball widely appreciated and he is rightly considered as one of the best Test batsmen in the world.
Joe Root – England
The 4th player of the famous “Big 4” , Joe Root has already had a magnificent Test career for England. Root made his debut for England 8 years ago against India, and since then he has proceeded to assimilate 7823 runs in just 177 innings, at an impressive average of 47.71.
Root has hit 17 centuries and a staggering 49 half-centuries, including a mammoth highest score of 254. Root has often ended several years as England’s top test batsman, none more so than 2015 and 2016, when he scored 1385 and 1477 runs respectively. He followed that up with 966 , 948 and 851 runs in the next 3 years, to emerge as one of the best batsmen in the world between 2015 to 2019. Root is England’s current highest run-scorer against both Australia (1694) and India (1421).
The England Test captain can also be very handy with the ball, and is known to break many long partnerships with his wristy spin. He is also a very prolific batsman in the ODI format of the game, with an average of more than 50, and was a part of the victorious 2019 World Cup squad.
Cheteshwar Pujara – India
If there ever was a replacement for Rahul Dravid, in terms of replicating his famous “The Wall” kind of characteristics, the Cheteshwar Pujara is right up there. The new wall of Indian Test Cricket, Pujara’s patience, resilience and composure is unmatched in world cricket.
Probably the hardest batsman to get out in tests, Pujara has also piled on plenty of runs over the years, as a fixed number 3 in the Indian batting order. In just 129 innings, he has scored 5883 runs, with 18 centuries and 25 half-centuries. He has a top score of 206*, widely considered as one of the best test innings in recent times, full of grit and determination. Pujara’s best year was undoubtedly 2017, as he plundered 1140 runs in just 18 innings at an unbelievable average of 67.06, with 4 centuries, more than any other batsmen, to establish his position as one of the best Test batsmen in the world.
He followed that up with 837 runs the following year, which speaks volumes about his consistency and his importance in the Indian line-up. He is the favourite to be India’s top scorer in their tour of Australia as well, a feat he achieved the last time these two giants clashed.
Ajinkya Rahane – India
The current Indian Test Vice-Captain and Delhi Capitals player is a man that often divides popular opinion. Many people appreciate him for his fabulous technique and composure, while he has his set of fierce critics as well, who often question his selection and consequent promotion to the Vice-Captain post.
Despite the constant scrutiny over his form, the fact remains he is one of the first names on the the test team sheet for India, and though he hasn’t had a huge innings in a while, he always contributes a substantial amount of runs no matter how poorly the rest of the batting order is performing. Rahane has scored 4245 runs in 110 innings, at a solid average of 42.88.
He has hit 11 centuries and 22 half-centuries, and ended up as India’s top scorer on 16 different occasions. In 2019, Rahane had his most prolific career so far, scoring 642 runs in just 11 innings, at a mind-blowing average of 71.33, putting him on the same level as some of the best Test batsmen in the world. His highest score in test cricket is 188, a typically resilient innings, the likes of which has made him a fixed choice in India’s batting middle order.
Ross Taylor – New Zealand
Ross Taylor is now a seasoned veteran in the Kiwi cricketing setup, having been a Test regular for more than 13 years now. He debuted back in 2007, where he could only muster 44 runs in his first 4 innings, however he has gone from strength ever since 2008, when he scored 818 runs.
Statistically his best year was 2013, as he scored 866 runs at an amazing average of 72.2, with 3 centuries. Last year, he scored 607 tuns in just 12 innings at an average of 55.2, with a highest score of 200. In total, Taylor has managed to score 7286 runs in 180 innings at an impressive average of 45.8, a feat made all the more impressive by the fact that he often bats very low in the order, and guarantees runs from any position. He, along with Kane Williamson is one of the biggest reasons behind New Zealand’s recent surge in World Cricket, which has seen them reach back to back World Cup finals and also reach the number 1 spot in the ICC Test rankings twice.
He has hit 19 test centuries and 33 half centuries, with a highest score of 290, and is undoubtedly a modern-day legend of Kiwi cricket. One of his biggest assets is the versatility of his batting style, he can anchor an innings as well as destroy bowlers off the park with his trademark slogs over deep mid-wicket, which have resulted in some of the biggest sixes ever seen in world cricket.
He can accelerate at will and take the game away from the opposition very quickly, which is what differentiates him from fellow Kiwi Williamson. Taylor has had consistency issues in the past, but when he gets going, he is among the best Test batsmen in the world on that day.