Cricket is famous, but One Day cricket is far more famous. Cricketers are famous, but batsmen are far more loved and cheered than bowlers, nothing to do with the talent or skills of bowlers, but everything to do with the nature and modeling of the game. Batsmen, but which type of batsmen? Defensive grafters, single accumulators, copy-book blockers, oh no. Definitely not. Batsmen with bat-throwing demeanor, swashbuckling walkers to the pitch, boundary hitters, high-percentage stroke players and capable of hitting huge and gigantic sixers from long on to long off to mid-wicket. This is the breed of batsmen who loved, celebrated and waited during any cricket match.
We all respect and love Dravid, but we pray hard to see Dhoni on our screens in last 10 overs of an innings. Strauss is probably the best development on world cricket in last 3 or 4 years due to his dedication and craft against best new ball bowlers, but who earns and catches whole limelight. KP, the man with mission to demolish any kind of attack with his unconventional belligerence with the help of on-side flicks and long and lofty sweep shots. Same is the case with Pathan to the core Afridi, people love to catch glimpse of this heart pulsating Peshawar boy despite the presence of Yousuf, Younus and Inzamam in Pakistan batting line-up. Here we try to encapsulate five most feared hitters in the game. I might get it wrong so welcome all comments and disagreements, so we can reach an agreement over the most feared batsmen of One Day cricket.
Australian King Kong: It would be wrong to tag him as an out an out slogger or bat-thrower. He is a genuine match winner with sumptuous capability to build long innings with equal skill to launch the fiercest and scariest attack on any bowler any time any where in any condition. You must have understood by now. Andrew Symonds. Multi- faceted talented allrounder with guts to change any match into a nightmare for his opponents. But most damaging is his batting, the best thing about his hitting is that he hits them straight and long with ability to pinch quick singles. 20 sixes in an innings in a county match speak volumes of his heavy-headed attitude with the bat. To me, he is No.1 on list.
If looks can kill: Six feet two frame, expressionless face and imposing personality on the field sum up broad and fearsome Chris Gayle. Tonks and hoicks are usual when he is in the game with his long reach and crunching cuts and drives can make any bowler disillusioned. Test or One day, it is difficult to keep him quiet for long period of time. Flat and skiddy off-spin makes him staple for West Indian cricket. Presence of Sarwan, Lara and Chanderpaul barely outshine Gayle’s dominance and presence in the field. This colossal man earns himself No.2 spot in this list.
Nemesis of Warne: Few years back, if someone told me that Laxman is probably the smoothest operator against wily Shane Warne, then I would have believed him, but not now, now this place is undoubtedly reserved for Kevin Peitersen. Sensible head on shoulders, attacking nature and ability to turn any match on its head are the features which make him probably one of the best middle order batsman and fearsome final over hitter. When he is there, anything is possible, but his problem lies in availability of too many defensive batsmen in English line-up. This prevents him to play his natural game and lost momentum during inning building attempts. I cannot think any other better option for No.3 spot.
Jharkand boy: Charismatic, persona and carefree attitude puts MS Dhoni at No.4 place in the most feared batsman in the shorter version of the game. His swivels on on-side with the bat make him an attractive player enough to watch. Shot selection brings his downfall which can be rectified with little better understanding of his game. An air of anticipation follows him whenever he walks out to bat; Greg Chappell nominated him as a future captain of India. His short but eventful tenure with Indian team gives hints of him being a formidable player for Indian team in future. Sheer power and ability to take any bowler to the cleaners fixed his position at No.4 place.
Mercurial Pathan: He could have had lot more than what he amassed so far in his relatively long career. Highest number of sixes in One Day format is what he could be proud of, but his reckless shot selection can be what he can never be proud of. He is dangerous without any shadow of doubt, but this quality becomes the biggest demerit for this talented strong hitter of cricket ball. Excellent fielder, deceptive bowler and charge taker with the bat makes him delight for any captain. His swinging moods can bring him under pressure, but still he is on No.5 spot for his barbaric hitting.
This is my list of five most feared hitters in the game. I would love to get your opinion on this to reach conclusion.
- Andrew Symonds
- Chris Gayle
- Kevin Peitersen
- Mahendra Singh Dhoni
- Shahid Khan Afridi.
Kindly place them in your order of preference.