Cricket supporters around the world have been lucky to witness the ‘Fab Four’ of Steve Smith, Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson and Joe Root push each other to greater heights over the last few years.
The four elite batsmen have enthralled spectators with their ability to churn out the runs with astonishing consistency across all three formats of the international game and have broken several records in the process.
Now, a new ‘Fab Four’ comprising of Pat Cummins, Jasprit Bumrah, Kagiso Rabada and Jofra Archer is starting to emerge with the ball as well.
The four pacers have taken international cricket by storm since making their respective debuts and they all have the potential to end up as all-time greats judging by what we have seen so far.
Here, we take a closer look at what makes them tick individually.
Archer is the latest entrant to international cricket among the four pacers but he had already been whipping up a storm in franchise T20 leagues around the globe before making his England debut over the summer.
The Barbados-born man has had an electric introduction to international cricket with his 20 wickets helping England capture their maiden World Cup title and he has seamlessly translated his limited-overs prowess to Test cricket subsequently.
It took little time for Archer to make his mark in his maiden Ashes series with the England man rattling Australia with his pace and hostility at Lord’s and Headingley. The nasty blow he landed on an in-form Steve Smith at Lord’s during a terrific spell had the cricket world sit up to take notice.
The 24-year-old can generate some serious heat despite coming in with a gentle run-up while he possesses a pin-point yorker and an equally lethal bouncer to bamboozle any batsmen in the world.
It has been just one summer of the Archer madness so far but the England pacer is here to stay based on the evidence so far.
While Archer has made his international debut at 24, Rabada is already experienced at the same age with 37 Test, 75 ODI and 19 T20 appearances for South Africa so far.
The young pacer took just 31 Tests to breach the 150-wicket barrier and he became the youngest bowler in history to top the ICC rankings in the process. The Proteas fast bowler had already established himself as the leader of the bowling attack by the age of 21 and he has delivered time and again in all three formats.
Like Archer, Rabada can swing the ball at pace and he can run through batting line-ups at a fearsome consistency as his nine five-wicket hauls in Test cricket will attest.
If he can maintain his fitness levels over the next decade, there is no reason why Rabada should not end up as South Africa’s greatest ever pacer.
Arguably the most complete all-format bowler among the four pacers, Bumrah made his mark initially in limited-overs cricket before his sensational introduction to the Test arena.
With a bowling average less than 21 in all three formats, it is clear to see why Bumrah has the potential to go down as India’s greatest ever pacer. His slingy unorthodox bowling action had made critics skeptical about his longevity but he has so far proved them wrong with a meteoric rise.
His debut year in Test cricket fetched a total of 49 wickets in just nine matches and he is now the first Asian bowler in history to claim five-wicket hauls in Australia, England, South Africa and West Indies.
The fact that he has achieved the feat in just his maiden tours of the four countries is even more impressive and it is no wonder he has present and past greats going gaga over his prowess.
The Australia pacer’s Test debut came all the way back in 2011 but he had to wait another six years before making his second appearance due to a spate of injuries. Despite his fitness woes initially, Cummins has persevered to return as an even stronger bowler and he has not looked back since his international return in 2017.
In the short span of time since coming back, Cummins has gone on to establish himself as the No1 in the Test format while achieving the highest rating points for any Australian bowler in history (level with Glenn McGrath at 914).
A real competitor on the pitch, Cummins can trouble batsmen with both conventional swing and short-pitched bowling while he has excellent control over his lines and lengths.
The Aussie is no slouch in the limited-overs formats as well but it is in Test cricket that he really is at his very best. He averaged less than 20 in the five-day format last year while leading Australia to a 4-0 Ashes drubbing over their arch-rivals and he is now leading the wicket-taking charts in the ongoing 2019 series in England as well.
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