On 6 February 2017, Alastair Cook resigned from the post of England’s Test captain bringing down curtains on a glorious tenure where he led the side in record 59 Tests and went on to achieve many great things. He will certainly go down in the history as one of the best leaders of all time but his exit has opened the way for ‘Fab-four’ era allowing Joe Root to take the centre-stage along with the three other great batsmen of his generation: Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson.
While we have seen such rivalries in the batting or fielding department before with Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara triggering debates over the greatest batsmen and Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne leading to arguments over who is a better spinner, cricket fans never had the luxury to witness a rivalry between world-class captains but that dream is soon about to come true.
In terms of batting, numbers are slightly in favour of the Indian captain in the shorter formats but there is hardly anything to differentiate the four men in terms of technique and class. While Kohli and Smith are naturally aggressive batsmen, an approach that is also visible when they lead their sides, Root and Williamson are relatively calm and composed players.
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A lot will also depend on the resources these players have. On one hand, the current Indian side has a lot of talent and depth, Australia is still going through a transformational phase. England have different teams for Test and limited overs’ format and the challenge for Kane Williamson will be to make the best use of the limited resources he has.
Joe Root may take over as the Test captain for England but since the side has taken big strides under the leadership of Eoin Morgan in the other two formats, he may have to wait longer before taking the command across all formats. So, adapting would be another challenge for him.
There are so many similarities between these players that make this competition mouth-watering. All the four men are of same age, they bat at number for their teams and are equally good in all the formats. This competition almost looks like scripted and all of them will have their eyes set on the next ODI World Cup set to take place in 2019.