In 2014, the late Martin Crowe made a prediction that proved to be extremely accurate. New Zealand coined the term ‘Fab Four’ to describe Joe Root, Steve Smith, Virat Kohli and Ken Williamson.
Between the ages of 23-25 at the time, these four batsmen were still young in terms of cricket and still could not hit their peak. Crowe predicted ‘Fab Four’ to dominate Test cricket for years to come, believing that they would each captain their respective countries.
With Smith on the verge of losing his Australia captaincy, the incredible rise of the Fab Four was just right for most of Crowe. They have become an influential force for the best part of a decade and will have to break a lot of records in the years to come.
In their current relative era, these decades may not be around when it comes to revolving around the second half of the current decade.
Below, we have selected four upcoming stars under the age of 25 who are poised to dominate cricket for the best part of the 2020s. They have time.
Kagiso Rabada (South Africa)
Introduction: Right hand pace
International presence: 122
After making his debut in international cricket for South Africa in 2014, Kagiso Rabada has now established himself as the country’s leading bowler in all three formats.
Blessed by his impressive pace and explosive nature, the Johannesburg-born bowler has already reached the heights that fast bowlers can only dream of. When he was just 22 years old at the top of the ICC rankings in Test and ODI formats, let me tell you all you need to know about his meteorite rise.
In fact, he is the youngest bowler in history to achieve the number one Test ranking and the youngest to take 150 wickets in the format (23). His promise was clear when he led South Africa to a 2014 ICC U-19 World Cup title in the United Arab Emirates, claiming 14 wickets throughout the campaign.
The Proteas have done a good job of keeping a quick eye on Rabada to the senior team and are collecting awards for his early introduction on the big stage. Some may argue that Rabda peeked out too early, the young man was 201-18-1. A great wicket hunt in the year ahead. He was not the best in his menacing in 2012, although he still averaged 227.29 in Tests last year with a strike-rate of 44.70.
Rabada’s only concern was panic because of the hard work imposed on him at such a young age. He should be in conversation with the best fast bowler for several more years without any major injuries.
Marnus Labaschagane (Australia)
Introduction: Right hand bat
International presence: 21
Although Rabdar may not have experience under his belt, Marnus Labuchagen has already made huge statements in his limited time on the cricket pitch. A late Bloomer, Australia’s top batsman did not really turn his head when he made his debut against Pakistan in 2018.
He handed over an international call-up behind a decent first-class record and his selection was questioned by many in Australia. In what has been one of the most incredible transformations in the sport, Labaschagen has dispelled these doubts with Incredible 2019.
A county Stein at Glamorgan last summer seemed to do wonders for his confidence, with the right-handed bowler subsequently swept the Ashes as a swarm of Steve Smith.
He finished 2019 as the top run-getter (1,104) at an average of around 655 in Tests and then started 2020 vigorously by registering a double ton against New Zealand. His recent introduction to ODI cricket is going great, he has so far registered a century and two fifties in six innings.
Now just behind Smith and Virat Kohli in the ICC Test rankings, Labuchagen has the tactics and temperament to take Australia by storm of success. Labschagan needs hunger and drive to be the best in the world for a long time, if not a glimpse of his personality in the recently published ‘The Test’ documents.
Joffra Archer (England)
Introduction: Right hand fast
International presence: 21
His performances on the England tour of New Zealand do not blame the otherwise incredible year for the fast bowler.
The Barbados-born pacer was a missing part of England’s jigsaw puzzle, and Eoin Morgan’s men were important internationally in their quest to win the first World Cup at Lord’s.
Archer was one of the stars of their World Cup campaign, taking 20 wickets in the tournament, after being quickly tracked in England’s residency under the re-election rule. There was much more to come from the express pacer when the next Ashes series came to the fore, with Archer giving spiritual time to Steve Smith in the Lord’s Test match with Archer.
The Sussex man had to say goodbye to his team to make his debut in England first, his skill with the ball was no secret to his involvement in various T20 franchise leagues. Archer was aptly claiming every change in the book as a success of limited overs in IPL and BBL.
Injury, like any fast bowler, is his main obstacle which can be a threat to his development and the England fast bowler has already collected a fair share of his problems. If he can manage his body and condition properly, expect Archer to dominate a lot of batsmen, especially in limited overs cricket.
Babar Azam (Pakistan)
Introduction: Right hand bat
International presence: 138
Babar Azam, the only batsman in the top five of the ICC rankings in all three formats, is already in the unsupported zone.
Ever since he scored three centuries in Trott in the ODI series against the West Indies in 2016, there have been some great expectations from the Pakistan star.
With just 11 manned ODIs and 15 half-centuries in the man2 ODI innings, Virat Kohli, who seems ready to take charge of the mantle of the best batsman in the format, has a surprising expectation. He is also an absolute machine in T20, where he averages more than 50 after 38 innings.
The Pakistan batsman has struggled to hold on to the Test format for a long time, but his performance on the tour of Australia last year has allayed those doubts. He followed suit with a more admirable performance in the home series against Sri Lanka and is now at number five in the format.
An elegant batsman with a polished strategy, Babur has the disposition to match the best in history. Fearful of what this Lahore-born decade can achieve, its best years are still ahead of it.
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