The Batting Grand Slam ūüíĮ Who are the Real Batting All-Rounders?

The Batting Grand Slam ūüíĮ Who are the Real Batting All-Rounders?
There are just a handful of players to have notched up centuries in all three formats of the game across both domestic and international cricket. A unique sextuple. The batting grand slam.

It takes a unique skillset to become a special batsman in each of cricket’s great formats, a run-scorer capable of reaching three figures. It takes mental toughness, patience, technique and unflappable concentration to stand up to the rigours of first-class cricket. The grandchild of the longest-form is T20 cricket, where batting power, innovation, coordination and hand speed dominates proceedings. Placed somewhere between the two extremes is List A or one-day cricket (the author’s favoured format), leaning on a number of the key attributes from both first-class and T20 batting, but bringing¬†shot selection, adaptability and rotation of the strike to the fore.

To excel in all three formats is rare, but not unknown. Many top-class batsmen are able to produce the goods across all formats at domestic level, but to replicate it at international is a different story. Here are the select group of cricketers who have achieved this unusual feat across Tests, ODIs and T20Is, as well as domestic first-class, List A and T20 formats:

Mahela Jayawardene (SL) – 75 career hundreds

  • First-class: 51 (34 Tests, 17 domestic)
  • List A: 21 (19 ODI, 2 domestic)
  • T20: 3 (1 IT20I, 2 domestic)

Mahela+Jayawardene+Sri+Lanka+v+West+Indies+vupi81B95Ppl

Rohit Sharma (IND) – 56 career hundreds

  • First-class:¬†20 (3 Tests, 17 domestic)
  • List A:¬†30 (27 ODI, 3 domestic)
  • T20:¬†6 (4 IT20I, 2 domestic)

Rohit+Sharma+England+vs+India+3rd+ODI+Royal+rk-SrasW4YYl

Suresh Raina (IND) – 25 career hundreds

  • First-class:¬†14 (1 Tests, 13 domestic)
  • List A:¬†7 (5 ODI, 2 domestic)
  • T20:¬†4 (1 IT20I, 3 domestic)

Suresh+Raina+India+v+South+Africa+ICC+Twenty20+teJc0Id0c2tl

KL Rahul (IND) – 22 career hundreds

  • First-class:¬†14 (5 Tests, 9 domestic)
  • List A:¬†5 (2 ODI, 3 domestic)
  • T20: 3 (2 IT20I, 1 domestic)

Lokesh+Rahul+England+vs+India+Specsavers+4th+pD4QD1swqdWl

Martin Guptill (NZ) – 45 career hundreds

  • First-class:¬†15 (3 Tests, 12 domestic)
  • List A: 26 (16 ODI, 10 domestic)
  • T20:¬†4 (2 IT20I, 2 domestic)

Martin+Guptill+Barbados+Tridents+vs+Jamaica+jj8iST8Tm5Fl

Tamim Iqbal (BAN) – 34 career hundreds

  • First-class:¬†15 (9 Tests, 6 domestic)
  • List A:¬†16 (16 ODI, 11 domestic)
  • T20:¬†3 (1 IT20I, 2 domestic)

Tamim+Iqbal+Australia+v+Bangladesh+ICC+Champions+M8BSs6_bzYnl

Ahmed Shehzad (PAK) – 32 career hundreds

  • First-class:¬†12 (3 Tests, 9 domestic)
  • List A:¬†16 (6 ODI, 10 domestic)
  • T20:¬†4 (1 IT20I, 3 domestic)

Ahmed+Shahzad+New+Zealand+v+Pakistan+1st+T20+f02TNolbmfSl

Brendon McCullum (NZ) – 33 career hundreds

  • First-class:¬†17 (12 Tests, 5 domestic)
  • List A:¬†9 (5 ODI, 4 domestic)
  • T20:¬†7 (2 IT20I, 5 domestic)

Brendon+McCullum+Trinbago+Knight+Riders+vs+CRjI-o9Nl-Zl

Chris Gayle (WI) – 82 career hundreds

  • First-class:¬†32 (15 Tests, 17 domestic)
  • List A: 29 (25 ODI, 4 domestic)
  • T20:¬†21 (2 IT20I, 19 domestic)

Chris+Gayle+ICC+World+XI+vs+West+Indies+T20+MLmxm7czva1l

Shane Watson (AUS) – 37 career hundreds

  • First-class:¬†20 (4 Tests, 16 domestic)
  • List A: 11 (9 ODI, 2 domestic)
  • T20:¬†6 (1 IT20I, 5 domestic)

Shane+Watson+BBL+Stars+v+Thunder+dapVs77khJOl

 

Where are the Superstars?

You may notice a couple of big names missing… Kohli. Smith. Root. Williamson. Warner. The greatest batsmen of this generation. They may still complete the sextuple before their careers are up. De Villiers, Amla and Sangakkara won’t get the chance.

In India captain Kohli’s case, it seems a matter of when rather than if. He has a highest score of 90 in 65 T20I innings and has passed fifty on 21 occasions. Let’s not forget he took until 2016 (over 150 IPL innings) to register his first domestic T20 hundred and then picked up a century in three of his next seven innings in four weeks. Warner has also struggled to convert starts to three figures in international T20 cricket from his 90 innings. Seven hundreds at domestic level but also a top score of 90* on the world scene, though – like Steve Smith –¬† Indeed, Kohli, Warner, Steve Smith and Joe Root all have top scores of exactly 90 at the highest level of T20 – quite the coincidence.

For Smith, Root and Kane Williamson it’s a different story. Hundreds seem to flow regularly for all of them across international and domestic first-class and one-day cricket, but Smith and Williamson have registered just a single century each (101 and 101* respectively) in domestic T20. Root has yet to hit the landmark in any competitive T20 cricket, though he has not yet played 100 T20 career innings. While the elusive hundreds are by no means out of their grasp, their strike rates, batting positions and lack of match action are definitely not helping their cause. Williamson typical strikes at 121.76 runs per 100 balls in T20I – well below par at that level for a number three. Root is slightly better at 126.30 from the same batting position, whereas Smith strikes at 122.44 largely from no.4, but he hasn’t played at T20I since 2016.¬†In fact, between the three they have registered little over 100 international T20 appearances. That’s not a lot of cricket.

One reason for the lack of opportunity in the shortest-form is the short-form specialist. Despite a superb record in longer formats in early in his career, Chris Gayle (15 Test centuries, highest score 333) played just 12 Test matches after turning 30 and paved the way for the T20 and one-day professionals. The likes of fellow West Indian Evin Lewis, England’s Alex Hales, New Zealander Colin Munro and Australia captain Aaron Finch all focus on short-form batting and for good reason… they are capable of virtuoso performances and the money is plentiful.

Lewis has never played a Test match and, with no domestic first-class cricket in over two years and T20 franchise contracts all around the world, he probably never will.  Munro failed in his solitary Test appearance back in 2013 (but has a stunning domestic first-class record) and England and Australia look unlikely to utilise Hales and Finch again at the top of the Test order after experimenting with them in recent years. All of them have impressive records in ODIs and T20Is but are deemed unsuitable for Test cricket.

Then there a the first-class specialists, though not in such plentiful supply as the T20 freelancers (ūüíį). Indian Test stalwart Cheteshwar Pujara is one of the great batsmen of his era, capable of grinding out lengthy innings like few others. 18 tons in 70 Tests at an average a touch under 50 is impressive. But he’s never played a T20I and was omitted from the national ODI squad since 2014. His leisurely T20 strike-rate of 109.35 has plenty to do with it, though surprisingly he has registered a century in the shortest-form (as has Sir Alistair Cook). Pakistan Test opener Azhar Ali is another in this category (no T20 innings since PSL 2016), but I’m scratching my head for other genuine Test batting specialists (let me know in the comments).

Now for the anomalies:

  • Glenn Maxwell – widely considered a T20 and one-day maverick. One of the first on the list when thinking of big-hitting, one-day specialists. He strikes at more than 1.54 runs per ball in domestic T20 but hasn’t registered a ton in 181 appearances. He does however have three T20I hundreds and Test century to his name ūü§Ē
  • Faf du Plessis – A free-scoring batsman across all-formats, but like Maxwell hasn’t registered a domestic T20 hundred, despite notching one at international level. That’s nearly 150 innings without a hundred for one of the best in the game. He does however, have 50 T20 wickets to his name with his funky legbreaks… and an impressive bowling record ūüßź
  • Tillakaratne Dilshan – one of the original Twenty20 innovators, even has a shot named after him – the Dilscoop. Again, never registered a domestic T20 hundred, but scored a stunning match-winning T20I 104* (57 balls) against Australia in 2011. Looking at his T20 stats, perhaps he wasn’t that good. A poorer career strike-rate than Alastair Cook and some ugly tournament performances (132 runs @ 105.60 in World T20 2014 would suggest most of us are wearing rose-tinted glasses glasses¬†ūü§ď

Who else will make it?

I’d put my house on Kohli doing it before his hangs up his boots. Babar Azam is only 24-years-old and improving every year. He will join the list sooner-rather-than-later. Quinton De Kock too. Add to that Shimron Hetmyer, Rishabh Pant, Kusal Mendis, Shubman Gill, Ollie Pope and Prithvi Shaw (assuming he¬†comes back motivated following his drugs ban).

 

Anyone missing? Let us know in the comments.

Our World XI for 2018

Our World XI for 2018

In the¬†1970 English summer, a scheduled¬†South African¬†tour was cancelled for political reasons. To make up for the lack of international cricket that season, a¬†Rest of the World team¬†was assembled to play a series of five-day matches against¬†England, winning a keenly contested series of Test matches 4-1. Since then, World XIs have made sporadic appearances on the heavily-congested global cricket calendar, perhaps most notably the¬†2005 ICC Super Series¬†in October 2005 played between¬†Australia, the world’s ranked number one side at the time, and an¬†ICC¬†World XI made up of the best non-Australian cricketers.

The West Indies are scheduled to play a T20I against a Rest of the World XI in England in May 2018, to raise funds for stadiums damaged by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria in September 2017.

In the same way that boxing struggles to compare weight categories, it’s difficult to weigh batsmen versus bowlers (not forgetting the wicket-keepers). It’s just as hard to compare ODI specialists from those with Test pedigree or the influx of modern players who specialise in twenty-over cricket.¬†If the one-off T20I at Lord’s was converted to a multi-format series – and the World XI featured only the best players – here’s a rundown of our 17-man squad.

1. Virat Kohli (IND) (c)

icc-cricketer-of-the-year-2017

Impossible to take your eyes off, unthinkable to ignore.

As of February 2018, Kohli sits top of the ICC ODI Batting Rankings, 2nd amongst Test batsman and 3rd overall in T20I cricket. Averaging 50+ in all three formats of the international game, his numbers speak for themselves. Kohli’s aggressive captaincy has returned India to the top of the class across all formats and he is the poster boy of the IPL. The ICC Awards 2017 honoured him as¬†winner of the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for Cricketer of the Year while he was also named the ODI Player of the Year.

The clear and obvious choice to captain the side across all formats.


2. David Warner (AUS)

Australia v England - T20 Game 1


3. Joe Root (ENG)

England v South Africa - 4th Investec Test: Day Four


4. Kane Williamson (NZ)

GettyImages-633863556 (1)


5. Steve Smith (AUS)

Australia v England - Third Test: Day 5


6. Babar Azam (PAK)

India v Pakistan - ICC Champions Trophy Final


7. Hashim Amla (SA)

England v South Africa - 2nd Investec Test: Day Three


8. AB de Villiers (SA) (wk)

New Zealand v South Africa - 5th ODI


9. Jos Buttler (ENG) (wk)

<> on January 30, 2016 in Kimberley, South Africa.


10. Ben Stokes (SA)

England Media Access


11. Shakib Ul Hasan (BAN)

GettyImages-463746038 (1)


12. Rashid Khan (AFG)

CRICKET-WT20-2016-AFG-TRAINING


13. Ravi Ashwin (IND)

ICC World Twenty20 India 2016: India v Bangladesh


14. Mitchell Starc (AUS)

Australia v England - Game 2


15. Kagiso Rabada (SA)

CRICKET-ENG-RSA-TEST


16. Josh Hazlewood (AUS)

Australia v South Africa - 3rd Test: Day 3


17. Trent Boult (NZ)

GettyImages-509877408

There you have it. Four Australians, three Englishmen, three South Africans, two New Zealanders, two Indians, one Pakistani, one Bangladeshi and one Afghanistani.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments.

 

Ones-to-Watch: The Best Young English Cricketers of 2016 

Ones-to-Watch: The Best Young English Cricketers of 2016 

English cricket is emerging¬†from a transitional stage led by the¬†management of Trevor Bayliss and the ever-reliable¬†Alastair Cook and James Anderson, but¬†there’s plenty of talent waiting in the wings for when the old guard decide to move aside.

The likes Joe Root and Jos Buttler are creating history on the biggest stage, but which prodigious English (and Welsh) talents could join them in the years come? We’ve picked¬†the¬†ones-to-watch for 2016:

Daniel Bell-Drummond (Age 23, Kent)

England Lions v Pakistan A - Triangular Series

Stats 2016

First-class: 816 runs (102.00 ave)

List A: 582 runs (58.20 ave)

Twenty20: 379 runs (54.14 ave, 148.04 sr)


Tom Abell (Age 22, Somerset)

Tom_Abell_Ones-to-Watch

Stats 2016

First-class: 264 runs (18.85 ave)

List A: 106 runs (53.00 ave)

Twenty20: N/A


Ben Duckett (Age 21, Northamptonshire)

England Lions v Sri Lanka A - Triangular Series

Stats 2016

First-class: 746 runs (46.62 ave)

List A: 884 runs (110.50 ave)

Twenty20: 360 runs (45.00 ave, 138.46 sr)


Aneurin Donald (Age 19, Glamorgan)

Glamorgan v Hampshire - NatWest T20 Blast

Stats 2016

First-class: 784 runs (43.55 ave)

List A: 109 runs (15.57 ave)

Twenty20: 234 runs (29.25 ave, 132.20 sr)


Daniel Lawrence (Age 19, Essex)

Daniel_LawrenceCraig_Overton_Ones-to-Watch

Stats 2016

First-class: 788 runs (46.35 ave)

List A: 93 runs (13.28 ave)

Twenty20: 222 runs (27.75 ave, 118.08 sr)


Sam Hain (Age 21, Warwickshire)

Derbyshire v Warwickshire - NatWest T20 Blast

Stats 2016

First-class: 339 runs (21.18 ave)

List A: 424 runs (70.66 ave)

Twenty20: 371 runs (33.72 ave, 120.84 sr)


Ben Foakes (Age 23, Surrey)

Surrey v Durham - Specsavers County Championship: Division One

Stats 2016

First-class: 733 runs (48.86 ave), 30 ct, 2 st

List A: 224 runs (56.00 ave), 10 ct, 1 st

Twenty20: 58 runs (14.50 ave, 109.43 sr), 9 ct, 2 st


Sam Curran (Age 18, Surrey)

Nottinghamshire v Surrey - Specsavers County Championship: Division One

Stats 2016

First-class: 256 runs (32.00 ave), 9 wkts (44.00 ave)

List A: 140 runs (35.00 ave), 5 wkts (39.80 ave)

Twenty20: 134 runs (13.40 ave, 100.75 sr), 11 wkts (7.89 econ)


Craig Overton (Age 22, Somerset)

Somerset v Middlesex - Specsavers County Championship: Division One

Stats 2016

First-class: 229 runs (19.08 ave), 27 wkts (33.18 ave)

List A: 72 runs (18.00 ave), 5 wkts (62.20 ave)

Twenty20: 5¬†runs¬†(–.–), 2 wkts (10.23 econ)


Jamie Overton (Age 22, Somerset)

Somerset v Essex - NatWest T20 Blast

Stats 2016

First-class: 161 runs (23.00 ave), 17 wkts (22.47 ave)

List A: 47 runs (47.00 ave), 4 wkts (25.25 ave)

Twenty20: 38 runs (7.60 ave, 135.71 sr), 14 wkts (9.30 econ)


Tom Curran (Age 21, Surrey)

England Lions v Pakistan A - Triangular Series

Stats 2016

First-class: 28 wkts (41.14 ave)

List A: 14 wkts (26.85 ave)

Twenty20: 28 wkts (7.76 econ)


 

 

The Most Iconic Olympic Venues of All-Time

The Most Iconic Olympic Venues of All-Time

Flicking through this fantastic Rio 2016 Venue Guide¬†it’s no doubt that the beach volleyball arena is the¬†iconic venue of this year’s Olympic Games.¬†Nothing says “Brazil” quite like beach volleyball on the Copacabana.

That got us¬†thinking… ¬†What are the most iconic stadiums in Olympic history?¬†In no particular order, here’s our list (scroll down for the Winter Olympics venues):

 

Beijing National Aquatics Center – Beijing 2008

water_cube
The National Aquatics Center, also known as the “Water Cube,” was the Olympics venue for swimming events in 2008.

Despite its nickname, the building is not an actual cube, but a cuboid (a rectangular box). Swimmers at the “Water Cube” broke 25 world records during the 2008 Olympics.¬†After Beijing¬†2008, the building underwent a 200¬†million Yuan revamp to turn half of its interior into a water park.¬†It will host the curling events at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

 

Lee Valley VeloPark – London 2012

UK - London 2012 Olympics - Olympic Velodrome landscape
Exterior of the 105m siberian pine Velodrome curved roof during the London 2012 Olympics

Lee Valley VeloPark is a cycling centre on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, East London. It features a velodrome and BMX racing track, as well as a one-mile (1.6 km) road course and mountain bike track.

 

National Stadium – Beijing 2008

Beijing National Stadium-Beijing-2008
Due to the stadium’s external appearance it was nicknamed “The Bird’s Nest”

The stadium was designed for use throughout the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics and will be used again in the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

 

Olympic Stadium – Montreal 1976

Montreal Olympic Stadium
The main venue for the 1976 Summer Olympics, the Olympic Stadium is nicknamed “The Big O” in reference to it’s doughnut-shaped roof component

Montreal’s¬†Olympic Stadium is the largest by seating capacity in Canada. It is also known locally as the¬†“The Big Owe” to reference the astronomical cost of the stadium and the 1976 Olympics as a whole. It features a retractable roof,¬†which is opened and closed by cables suspended from the¬†huge 175m tower (neither of which was completed in time for the 1976 Games) ‚Äď the tallest inclined structure in the world.

 

Yoyogi National Gymnasium – Tokyo 1964

Yoyogi National Gymnasium-Toyko-1964
The gymnasium will also host the handball event at the 2020 Summer Olympics

An architectural icon for its distinctive design, the complex housed swimming and diving events in the 1964 Summer Olympics. The gymnasium is the larger of two arenas built for the Games, both of which were designed by Kenzo Tange and employ similar structural principles and aesthetics. A separate annex was used for the basketball competition at those same games.

 

Central Lenin Stadium РMoscow 1980

Luzhniki Stadium-Moscow-1980
Renamed the Luzhniki Stadium in 1992, the name was derived from the bend of the flood meadow of the Moskva River on which it was built

Formerly the national stadium of the Soviet Union, it was part of the Luzhniki Olympic Complex and is now the national stadium of Russia. It was the chief venue for the 1980 Summer Olympics with a spectator capacity of 103,000 at that time and is set to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final.

 

London Aquatics Centre – London 2012

Aquatics Centre-London-2012
After significant modification and removal of the temporary wings the centre opened to the public in March 2014

The centre features two 50-metre swimming pools and a 25-metre diving pool in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park at Stratford, London.¬†IOC President Jacques Rogge described the Centre as a “masterpiece”.

 

Olympiastadion – Munich 1974

GV of the Olympic Stadium
The tent-like structure of the Olympiapark was designed to mimic the Alps and set a counterpart to the 1936 Games in Berlin

With a capacity of 80,000 the original Olympiastadion M√ľnchen also hosted many major football matches including the Finals of the 1974 World Cup and Euro ’88, the European Cup Finals of 1979 and 1993 and the Champions League Final in 1997. It’s current capacity is 69,250 following renovation, but the¬†large sweeping canopies of acrylic glass remain.

 

Centennial Olympic Stadium РAtlanta 1996

This photo shows an aerial view of the Olympic sta
An aerial view of the Olympic stadium in Atlanta¬†shows a non-conformist design with it’s distinctive protruding corner¬†

The stadium was constructed for the 1996 Olympics, but was later converted into a baseball stadium for the Atlanta Braves and renamed Turner Field. The Olympic Stadium bore witness to Donovan Bailey winning the 100m in a world record time of 9.84 s and Michael Johnson winning both the 200 and 400 metres titles, breaking the 200 m world record in the process.

 

Palau Sant Jordi – Barcelona 1992

Olympic Installations in Barcelona, Spain on October, 1991.
Sant Jordi Sports Palace was home to the artistic gymnastics, handball and volleyball events of the Barcelona Olympics

Palau Sant Jordi¬†(English: St. George’s Palace) is an indoor sporting arena that formed part of the Olympic Ring complex in Barcelona, Spain for the 1992 Games.¬†Designed by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, it was opened in 1990 and with a capacity of 17,000¬†–¬†and 24,000 for musical events – is the 11th¬†largest indoor arena in the world.

 

Olympic Velodrome – Athens 2004

Athens Olympic Velodrome-Athens-2004
Distinctive twin roofs cover the stands on both sides

Extensively refurbished in order to host the track cycling events at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, the velodrome –¬†which seats 5,250 – has a track made of¬†Afzelia wood. Whatever that is.

 

Stadium Australia – Sydney 2000

Olympic site
Stadium Australia is commercially known as ANZ Stadium and formerly as Telstra Stadium

The stadium was originally built to temporarily hold 110,000 spectators, making it the largest Olympic Stadium ever built. A reduced capacity of 83,500 for a rectangular field (and 82,500 for an oval field) makes it the second largest stadium in Australia today, after the Melbourne Cricket Ground, but awnings over the north and south stands now allows most of the seating to be undercover.

 

…And let’s not forget the Winter Olympics:

Bolshoy Ice Dome – Sochi 2014Bolshoy Ice Dome-Sochi-2014

Richmond Olympic Oval – Vancouver 2010Richmond Olympic Oval-Vancouver-2010

Bergisel Sprungschanze Stadion – Innsbruck 1976A ski jumper hovers above a packed stadium during the l964 Olympics

Iceberg Skating Palace – Sochi 2014Iceberg Skating Palace-Sochi-2014

White Ring Arena – Nagano 1998White Ring Arena-Nagano-1998

Olympic Ski Jumping Complex – Lake Placid 1980Olympic Ski Jumping Complex-Lake Placid-1980

 

Anything we’ve missed out? Let us know!

The Record World Record?

The Record World Record?

It was exactly midday in Brazil on day zero of the Olympic Games and we already had our first world-record of Rio 2016. 

At lunchtime on the day of the¬†opening ceremony, Kim Woo-Jin of South Korea struck 700 in the men’s individual 72-arrow ranking round at the Sambadrome and¬†became the fastest Olympian on record… to break a record.

On his unparalleled feat the¬†understated reigning world champion said: “I practised more than everyone else and I gave my best for the entire round”.

“It’s just the ranking round, so today’s not really big happy” he added.

GettyImages-586130124.jpg
World Champion Woo-Jin was understandably delighted at his achievement  

 

In the capital of world-famous Brazilian party culture, famed as the home of samba and carnival, the nonchalant 24-year-old managed to remain calm at breaking the record of all records:

“I want to focus on the Games now but later, maybe, I‚Äôll get to enjoy Brazil.”

For now though, we may just have witnessed the storm before the storm from the calmest man in Rio.