Fab four has been the term frequently used in the international cricket over the past decade due to emergence a group of quality batsmen, but there is an alternate fab four that is nicely shaping up.
Batsmen set-up a cricket game but it is dictated by the bowlers. In today’s day and age, batsmen still take a lot of plaudits, but it is often seen that bowlers are the vital cog in the team that help them in winning big test series and major tournaments. For the longest time, the bowlers have lived and cherished their successes under batsmen’s larger than life personas. Whereas, the most dominant teams in the history of cricket must have had star-studded batting but they boast an equally formidable bowling unit.
For instance, Don Bradman’s great Australian team had Lindwall, Miller, Johnston, and Toshack. The formidable West Indies had the quadruple of Ambrose, Walsh, Garner, and Roberts, while Ricky Pointing’s ruthless Australian side had a bowling attack comprising McGrath, Warne, Brett Lee, and Gillespie. Historically, it has been proven that each side needs a well-settled bowling attack to be the best team in any condition and that same pattern is still being followed. Currently, teams that are regarded as an A-level cricket side has a feasible bowling battalion.
That bowling battalion might have a couple of commanders, but they have one major, the main leader of the pack who always bowls a fiery spell and provides one or two breakthroughs for sure. The Indian team has that fiery leader in Jasprit Bumrah, Pat Cummins Australia does that job for the Australian side, Kagiso Rabada leads the Proteas, whereas Jofra Archer does that job for the English team. These four right-arm fast bowlers are the real fabulous-four in bowling department.
The Alternate Fab Four
The year was 2019. The Indian side was knocked out of the World Cup by New Zealand and the Men in Blue were eyeing for opposition to take some revenge, Kohli’s troop got a chance against West Indies. It was the second test of the series. West Indies’ batsmen came into bat after a long fielding session of 140 overs. There was no respite for them as they faced a fiery spell of Jasprit Bumrah. Bumrah took five wickets in just eight overs and bulldozed through the top order by attacking the stumps relentlessly in a devastating spell. He laid a marker and after a mere blink of the eyes, West Indies were reduced to 15 for 5 and the result was already a foregone conclusion. Bumrah was pivotal for India during tours of England and Australia in 2018, but the tour of West Indies did establish him as a remarkable test bowler. In the limited overs cricket, Bumrah probably has the best skillset and variety in the world.
Ashes 2019 was one of the most intensely fought series and the centerline of the rivalry was built around Steve Smith against debutant Jofra Archer. The show-stealing moment of this individual duel came in the Lord’s Test when the quick bowler lands a bumper straight into the head of the Australian. Smith missed the next Test and Archer delivered the masterclass in that game. The Australian side was trying to bat England out of the game, but Archer had different plans. The fiery fast bowler reduced the Aussies from 136/2 to 179 all-out. Archer alone bundled the Australian batting unit with his deadly bounce and announced himself on the world stage in the test arena. The bowler got his maiden fifer as he figures stated 6-45. In very less time, Archer has established himself as go to bowler for England across all formats.
India’s historic series win against Australia in 2020/21 began with India’s horrific 36 all-out at Adelaide and Cummins was the chief architect of that demolition job. Along with his bowling partner Josh Hazlewood, Cummins skittled the Indian side for their lowest score in test cricket. The visitors were having a brilliant match till then. India had a 53 run lead, and they were progressing high in the second innings, but Pat Cummins had some different plans. He bowled at right line and lengths to trouble Indian batsmen. He ended up with four wickets in that innings. Cummins has been consistently delivering such spells in test cricket during the last three years, making him one of the best Australian bowlers.
Kagiso Rabade announced himself to the world after spearheading South Africa’s attack during the U-19 World Cup win in 2014. Rabada ended up being the second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 14 wickets at an economy rate of just 3.1 RPO. This was just the start of a flourishing career that saw an ODI debut against Bangladesh in July 2015, achieving the best debut figures of 6 for 16 and also made into the history books by becoming the second bowler in history to take a hat-trick on ODI debut. The young tpacer straightaway made major headlines solely for his fiery speed and intimidating bouncer. The opposition might have been Bangladesh, but KG’s told the world that he is no ordinary bowler. Since that staggering debut performance, Rabada has got better with every passing year, establishing himself as one of the best all round pace bowler in the world.
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