Why Root and Williamson have an edge over Kohli and Smith?

World cricket is often dominated by a set of batsmen for years. They are the backbone of their respective teams in international cricket. Virat Kohli, the Indian Test captain along with Steven Smith, the ODI and Test captain of Australia, Kane Williamson of New Zealand and Joe Root of England are considered as the brightest batsmen at the moment and the future legends in making. These four lads are leading the batting charts for their countries across formats. They have been given a free role in terms of expressing themselves with their willows. However, things could change in the next few months. Virat Kohli is the full time Test captain of India and the series against Sri Lanka and South Africa would define his future course of action. The same could be said about Steven Smith, who will lead Australia against England in the ODIs and then against Bangladesh in the longest format of the game as Michael Clarke will be retiring after the Ashes.

It is not easy to be the best batsman and captain of any side and international cricket is the hardest of all. On the other hand, players like Joe Root and Kane Williamson are still away from the regular responsibilities as far as the role of a skipper is considered which puts them at advantage over Virat Kohli and Steven Smith. These two will continue to flourish under the leadership of Alastair Cook and Brendon McCullum for a while. If we ask the fans and experts about their choice on the current best batsman, the answer will revolve around these four. The reasons might vary but there is no doubt that they have achieved a lot in their respective careers. Among these lads, Virat Kohli is the most aggressive and this is quite visible in his captaincy as well. He has openly stated that aggressive attitude is the way forward and five bowlers theory is must to win a Test match. This is completely different from MS Dhoni, the man who led India before the current Indian skipper. But, will Kohli’s tactics pay dividends and will Team India be able to justify his trust? Only time will tell. Much like him, Steven Smith will have a huge task to complete. There will be no Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, Chris Rogers and few others to assist him in the future series.

He will be expected to lead from the front and score as prolifically as he has done in the last few years. His challenge will be to change the face of Australian cricket and avoid embarrassments like the most recent Ashes slump after winning the prestigious fifty over World Cup. The new Australian captain will have a very young side at his disposal and will be required to teach them the art of performing against all rivals, that too without losing his own individual plot. It won’t be an easy ride for him, as international cricket is not a cake walk. Amid all this, England’s Joe Root is comfortable in his position. Seven of his eight Test hundreds have come in England but no one has questioned his batting outside the home territory. However, Virat Kohli and Steven Smith are not lucky in this aspect. They are labeled as home track bullies even after one failure but Root is judged on different parameters. The recent Ashes win has given new lease of life to Cook and he has urged to lead England for few more years, which will give Root some more time to improve as a batsman.

Root was named vice-captain before Ashes 2015 and is ready to lead England once Cook decides to hang his boots. Root is playing really well at the moment and has become England’s best batsman across formats in the recent time and there is no way he will slow down in the future assignments. The England & Wales Cricket Board knows the importance of Root’s performance for the English team and this is the only reason behind his promotion as the deputy of Alastair Cook. Kane Williamson has performed well outside his home country as well but like Root he is still away from being a regular captain. He is deputy to Brendon McCullum, who has already signed a one year deal with his board. It is likely that McCullum will play international cricket for another one year which means that Kane Williamson can still enjoy his game without taking too much responsibility.

The right hand batsman has become a solid batsman off late and is making his performance count against the top teams. He is one player who hardly loses his concentration in the tough matches and has bailed out his team on many occasions. Kane Williamson is learning a lot from Brendon McCullum, who is also investing his time in the player for the betterment of New Zealand cricket. However, there is no such comfort for Virat Kohli and Steven Smith, who will have to improve their sides and help them find feet in international cricket. I am not saying that these two exceptional cricketers will fail in their trade but challenges are bound to break the toughest and one shouldn’t forget that these two are normal human beings after all. They will have to implement their plans and strategies carefully in order to get the desired results from the squad. This is an area where Kane Williamson and Joe Root has an advantage over their two competitors. We will have to wait and see how things work out for these four in international matches in the coming months.

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