What does it take to be called a king? Is it the riches that you have, the area that you rule over, or the number of people in your kingdom? It is none of that, you don’t need to have all those to be called a king. A king is a person with an aura, an energy that inspires people to do better and become a better version of themselves, a fire of dedication, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. In cricket, it’s the same too, you can rule the pitch with your energy, the hunger to win the game, and the sheer will and ability to dominate. Get a picture of the player that I’m talking about? Of course, I am talking about Virat Kohli, undoubtedly one of the greatest cricket players of all time and widely known as the Modern King of Cricket.
But Virat Kohli is not the only one who has been crowned the title of the King of Cricket, there have been a few players in cricket history who have been crowned with this title, none more notable than the legendary Sir Viv Richards himself. During the 80-90s era, when Viv Richards was at the peak of his powers, he was the most destructive player on planet Earth and could potentially smash any bowler out of the park. Viv instilled a fear of him smacking the ball out in the minds of the bowlers. People thought there could not be a more dominating batsman than him, he was the most complete, dominating, and best batter in the world. But then, 20-30 years later, we have Virat Kohli, whom we consider the greatest ever.
Credit: The Statesman
The argument is that as the game evolves, there are players that rise up and perform better than we have ever seen anyone do, own the cricket pitch with their energy, and show unmeasurable will to dominate the opposition. So, as Virat Kohli enters the later stage of his career, we would like to explore some players who could take up the title of the new king of cricket in the present or in the near future.
In this article by ZAP, let’s explore the ideas of who is the new king of cricket.
Who can be the new King of Cricket?
There are some brilliant players in the world right now shattering records left right and center. There’s David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, and Pat Cummins still at the top of their game and winning matches for Australian Cricket Team. The England Team has Joe Root, Jos Butler, Ben Stokes, and the young, rising Harry Brook. In South Africa, Quinton de Cock is one of the best players on the team, and Shai Hope is one of the best batsmen in the West Indies. But can any of these players be called the new king of cricket? I fear not. It takes you to be special to be called the new king of cricket. Scoring runs and wickets is not enough, you need to have special talent and skills, be a class apart, and more importantly, have an inspiring energy and aura around yourself. There are 2 players that fit our thinking of who the king of cricket should be and they are Shubman Gill and Babar Azam.
Shubman Gill – The Prince of Indian Cricket:
Credit: The Times of India
Shubman Gill is one of the rising stars in the world of cricket and is one of the best batsmen that India has produced in the past 3-4 years. He is also called the prince of the Indian Cricket Team and the heir to Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli as the best batsman who defined a generation in India. 2023 was an amazing year for him, scoring runs for fun and smashing records in every series he played. Early in 2023, he scored back-to-back hundreds in series against Australia and New Zealand, and one of his innings was also an ODI double century, a rare feat for any batsman. In the Indian Premier League (IPL), he carried his team, the Gujarat Titans to the finals by playing three-digit knocks against the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians. Though GT couldn’t win the title, the season was a personal highlight for him also winning the Orange Cap for scoring the most runs in the IPL season. Though the later part of 2023 wasn’t as good as the earlier one, with failures in the World Test Championship Final and the 2023 ICC ODI cricket Tournament Final, both against Australia, there’s no denying that Shubman Gill is a special special talent and a justified shout for being the New King of Cricket.
Shubman Gill vs Virat Kohli:
Credit: Hindustan Times
This comparison is a bit hard to make considering the bond that Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli share on and off the field. You see Virat messing around with Shubman at any point, during training sessions or during a test match. But if we compare both players, they’re very similar to how their careers have turned out. Both players became a part of the Indian Cricket Team at a young age and then became the pillars. Shubman is young and is scoring centuries for fun just like Kohli in his early 20s. Also, the impact that Shubman Gill has as the opener alongside Rohit Sharma cannot be understated. Slowing down the game and accelerating whenever required helps Rohit Sharma play at his best. Also, his technical ability is on point, playing the cut shot and the pull shot as a jab is his specialty. One of the most memorable encounters between Virat Kohli and Shubman Gill came in the face to face in the final league game of the season at RCB’s home, the Chinnaswamy Cricket Stadium. RCB desperately needed a win to qualify for the playoffs and the King, Virat Kohli, stepped up, just like he does more often than not, and scored a brilliant hundred. It felt as if RCB could qualify now from here, but then, chasing 198, Shubman Gill smashed a century too giving the chasemaster a taste of his own medicine. RCB was knocked out and GT went on to face MS Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings in the IPL Final.
The potential for Shubman Gill is there, and he also has the ability to do it. But as a personal opinion, it feels he lacks the leadership, aggression, expressiveness, and energy on the field to be compared to Virat Kohli in those regards and what the title of the New King of Cricket exemplifies, but now with Hardik Pandya having left, he is set to become the Gujarat Titans captain, so he has to show all those qualities to lead the team to success. We will see how his career pans out and whether or not he can become the new King of Cricket.
Babar Azam – The King of Pakistan Cricket Team:
Babar Azam is without a doubt one of the best batsmen that Pakistan has ever produced. He is not only the best batter for them, but also one of the best in the world right now. He has been at the top of his game since his debut in 2015 and has carried and rescued the Pakistan batting lineup from innumerable batting order collapses. What makes him special is his ability to play all three formats of the game equally well and his batting technique when playing those silky smooth cover drives and straight drives. His multidimensional batting ability, being able to defend well in Tests and then smack the leather hard in the T20 format makes him one of the most dangerous batsmen in the world. All of this makes Babar Azam a true contender for the New King of Cricket.
Babar Azam vs Virat Kohli:
Credit: The Times of India
Babar Azam vs Virat Kohli is like a raging but justified debate between the two best players of the two biggest rivals in the history of the sport. Babar is Pakistan's best batter in the past decade, and so is Virat. The impact both of them have had on the world stage is also immense. Babar Azam is one of the only few batsmen who has competed with the King of Cricket, Virat Kohli for being the best batsman in the world. From 2019 to 2022, when Virat had his biggest run drought, Babar was indeed the best batsman in the world. But, there are a few things that every cricket fan can understand. As captain, Virat Kohli had unlimited energy to lift up his team's mood, he had the fire and aggression, which by itself was enough to push the opposition under the shadow. That’s not the case with Babar, who looks like a timid, sometimes clueless captain which has led to his side’s defeat in many games. In cricket fitness levels and influence over the entire world of sports, Virat is miles ahead of Babar. So, if run scoring was the only metric to assess who is the new king of cricket, Babar could be considered the top pick, but because it is not, we say he could be one of the greatest batter of the generation but not the king.
Final Decision - Who is the New King of Cricket?
In the final analysis, the title of the King of Cricket right now is firmly in the grasp of Virat Kohli. The legacy and impact that Kohli has imprinted on the sport are monumental, transcending boundaries and leaving an indelible mark on the cricketing world. His leadership, aggression, and sheer dominance on the field make him a legend of the sport, and his influence extends far beyond his runs and records.
While the discussion has entertained the prospects of Shubman Gill and Babar Azam inheriting this prestigious title, it is very important to know that King Kohli’s shoes are very hard to fill. Gill, with his exceptional talent and the promising start in his career, undoubtedly has the potential to evolve into one of the best in the game. His ability to score runs consistently and impact games resonates with the qualities of a future cricketing legend. However, to be deemed the New King of Cricket, Gill will need to not only excel individually but also exhibit the leadership, the drive to work hard and the expressive energy that define Kohli's reign.
As Kohli enters the final few years of his playing career, the world will start having comparisons and informal debates as to who ascends to the throne of not only the best batsman in the world but also the prestigious title of the King of Cricket. While Shubman Gill exhibits promise and potential, Virat Kohli's legacy remains unmatched, leaving an impact that sets an incredibly high standard for any successor to meet.
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