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World Cup 2023 will be the last time the ‘Fab Four’ appear together?

Cricket World Cup 2023 will be the last dance for the fab four - Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Kane Williamson and Steven Smith?

Steven Smith, Virat Kohli, Joe Root and Kane Williamson are The Fab Four of World Cricket | Walking Wicket (Images: ©Twitter)
Smith, Kohli, Root and Williamson are called the The Fab Four (Images: ©Twitter)

The ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023 in India is just a week away and will feature some of the best players in action. The tournament may be the last World Cup in which the modern day ‘Fab Four’ batters - Virat Kohli (India), Kane Williamson (New Zealand), Steve Smith (Australia), and Joe Root (England) - feature together.

Probable last time for Kohli, Root, Smith & Williamson together

This edition could be one final time these four legends would play an ODI World Cup, or any major ICC Tournament, together. Since the time when New Zealand legend Martin Crowe coined the term ‘Fab Four’ to put these four greats in a group, they all have displayed their class in various ways which is indicated by the mountain of runs and records put up by them.

With Kohli about to turn 35 in the coming November, Smith just turning 34 a few months ago, Root about to turn 33 in December and Williamson currently aged 33, there are bleak chances of them all continuing in the next four years. By the time the next 50-over World Cup arrives in 2027 in South Africa and Zimbabwe, all these four will be in their late 30s.

Let’s explore the fab four legends
India vs Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI, Top Performances_ Virat Kohli's 46th ODI ton (166 off 110) help India beat Sri Lanka by 317 runs _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Virat Kohli has scored 47 ODI tons (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)
Virat Kohli (1030 runs in 26 ODI World Cup innings)

Undoubtedly, the best all-format batter of these four, Virat Kohli has redefined one-day cricket with his patience and skills. Since the time he made his ODI debut in 2009, he has hit the jackpot in this format. He has his own theory of playing the 50-over format, and it has proven to be wonderful for him.

When new at the crease, Kohli always tries to find gaps and looks for singles and doubles to rotate the strike and keeps the scoreboard pressure away. One will hardly find him playing any rash shot at the start of his innings, as he guides the ball with ease against both the pacers and the spinners.

His tremendous ability to read any situation of the game and portray any chase with his planning has given him the name ‘chase-master.’ With 13,083 runs in 269 ODI innings at an average of 57.38 and a strike rate of 93.78 - thanks to his 47 centuries and 66 half centuries, he is the fifth-highest run scorer in the history of this format. When it comes to playing ODIs at home, Kohli has managed 5503 runs in 108 innings at an average of 57.92 and strike rate of 97.65 with 21 hundreds and 27 fifties with a best score of 166*.

Talking about his classic knocks, the thought goes back to 2012 in Hobart when a 24-year-old Kohli with his unbeaten 86-ball 133 run knock helped India chase 321 in just 36.4 overs against the supreme bowling attack of Sri Lanka . An year later in 2013, he smashed Australia everywhere to celebrate the fastest ODI century (52 balls) for India.

Even in the World Cups, he is the second highest run-getter for India, after Sachin Tendulkar who leads with 2278 runs.

Kohli has hit 1030 runs in 26 innings at an average of 46.81 and strike rate of 86.70 with six fifties and two centuries in ODI World Cups so far. After three cold years, Kohli found his old rhythm in 2023 - with 612 runs in 13 innings at an average of 55.6 and strike rate of 112.9 with two fifties and three centuries.

If this ends up being his last 50-over world cup, Kohli will surely look to end on a high note - with the distinction of winning the trophy twice in his career.

ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022, Super 12, Group 1, New Zealand vs Ireland_ Kane Williamson raise bat as he scores fifty against Ireland at Adelaide _ Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©ICC_Getty Images)
Kane Williamson has 911 runs from 22 WC innings (Photo: ©ICC/Twitter)
Kane Williamson (911 runs in 22 ODI World Cup innings)

Just like Kohli, Kane Williamson also is an elegant player who is easy on the eyes. He is someone who can flick the ball with ease and also play the pull shot comfortably, or just drive the ball through the gap. Early on in his innings, Williamson tends to find the singles by just pushing the ball in the third man region.

In 153 innings, Williamson has scored 6555 ODI runs at an average of 47.8 and strike rate of 81 with 42 half centuries and 13 centuries. Since making his debut in 2010, he has been the backbone of New Zealand in all the three formats of the game.

One of the best examples of his determination was his 148-run knock during the 2019 World Cup against the West Indies in Manchester, where coming at 7/2, the right-hander displayed his immense ability to build an innings and then going berserk at the end.

With 911 runs in 23 ODI World Cup innings at an average of 56.93 and strike rate of 78.33 with two centuries and three fifties, Williamson is the fourth highest run-scorer for the Blackcaps in the tournament. He was also the Player of the Tournament in the last World Cup - thanks to his 578 runs in 10 innings at an average of 82.57 which helped New Zealand reach the finals and unfortunately end as runner-up.

The ongoing year 2023 has him accumulating 164 ODI runs in three innings at an average of 54.7 before he was out with an injury since early April. When it comes to playing ODIs in India, he has cracked 398 runs in 13 innings at an average of 33.16. While building on this number, he will look to make a comeback in the game and carry New Zealand a step ahead in the upcoming competition.

Steven Smith might be playing hi last ODI world Cup in 2023 | Walking Wicket (Images_ ©mufaddal_vohra/Twitter)
Smith will probably be playing his last ODI world Cup (Images: ©mufaddal_vohra/Twitter)
Steve Smith (834 runs in 20 ODI World Cup innings)

Anyone who looks at Steve Smith on the 22-yard would be surprised how he scores those truckload of runs in every format. He is very unique, and is often found doing weird stuff on the crease. Even though the best advice one gets as a batter is to keep a still head, Smith uses his feet all the time to move in the crease but somehow he hardly puts his feet in the trap.

Although his numbers in ODIs aren’t as glorious as his Test runs, Smith still has 5054 runs in 145 ODI innings at an average of 44.33 and strike rate of 87.67 with 30 fifties and 12 centuries. When it comes to playing in the World Cups, Steve has scored 834 runs in 20 innings - at an average of 46.33 and strike rate of 89.58 with eight fifties and one century.

The 2015 World Cup was the highest point of his ODI career where he was the leading run scorer for champions Australia, with 402 runs in seven innings at an average of 67 and strike rate of 91.57 along with his blistering 105 run knock against India in Sydney during the semifinal. Smith has a decent record playing ODIs in India - with 536 runs in 14 innings at an average of 41.2 and strike rate of 90.8 with four fifties and one century.

Even in the ongoing year he has raked up just 137 runs in five innings at an average of 27.4 and he will be looking forward to improving these numbers in the upcoming World Cup.

Joe Root might be playing his last ODI World Cup in 2023  _ Walking Wicket (Images_  ©_anxious_one_Twitter)
Root will probably be playing his last ODI World Cup (Images: ©_anxious_one/Twitter)
Joe Root (758 runs in 16 ODI World Cup innings)

For the modern England side that scores 100 in the first 10 overs of an ODI, Joe Root is the one old school player who takes his time at the start - finding the vacant places before going big in the death overs.

England’s second-highest run-getter of the format after Eoin Morgan (6957), Root has scored 6247 runs in 151 innings at an average of 48.8 and strike rate of 86.7 - with 36 fifties and 16 hundreds.

He played a huge role in enabling England to win their maiden ODI World Cup in 2019 - with 556 runs in 11 innings at an average of 61.78 at a strike rate of 89.53. Even when it comes to World Cups, Root is still the second highest run-scorer for England in the competition, after the legendary Graham Gooch (897), with 758 runs in 16 innings. Having scored just 39 runs in four ODI innings in 2023, Root will be keen to roar out loud in his side’s title defense.

All these four players- Kohli, Smith, Williamson and Root began their career almost at the same stage during the Under-19 days and all of them, except the Blackcap, have one ODI World Cup to their name.

With time slowly running out, it will be exciting to see whether the number gets equal or someone will get ahead in the race by winning World Cup 2023.


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