The culmination of the exhilarating Word Test Championship (WTC 2021-23) is upon us as the grand finale between India and Australia looms at the iconic Oval. Commencing its second edition in 2021, this WTC cycle has been a witness to gripping moments and captivating displays of skill.
All participating teams underwent significant transformations, driven by their determination to emerge victorious. Dazzling us with their discipline, tenacity, aggression, and innate talent, these players etched their names as indispensable contributors to their respective teams.
The landscapes of Indian and English cricket underwent notable shifts in their management and leadership, while Australia embraced fresh faces into their formidable lineup. Nonetheless, it is these two formidable teams that have rightfully earned their place in the ultimate showdown.
Within the confines of this article, we present a meticulously curated list of the five most exceptional batting performances witnessed throughout the enthralling WTC 2021-23 cycle.
Once a subject of unfavorable headlines, the former captain of England, Joe Root, underwent a mesmerizing transformation during the latter half of the WTC cycle. Shedding the weight of leadership, Root emerged as an invaluable asset to his team, captivating all with his magnificent displays.
Concluding the WTC cycle as the highest run-scorer with a staggering 1915 runs, Root amassed eight centuries and six half-centuries. Under the tutelage of Brendon McCullum, the ex-skipper resuscitated his Test career, owing much of his batting brilliance to his aggressive approach when facing formidable opponents.
Returning to international cricket after a two-year hiatus, Usman Khawaja orchestrated a remarkable comeback, leaving an indelible mark on the new WTC cycle. He exhibited dominance in his encounters with Pakistan and South Africa, achieving his personal best figures.
Khawaja’s monumental innings against South Africa saw him notch an impressive 195 runs, while his clash with India witnessed a stunning display of 333 runs, including a century. Across 16 Test matches, Khawaja amassed a total of 1608 runs, boasting an average of 69.91. Amongst his remarkable accomplishments are six centuries and seven half-centuries.
Babar Azam epitomizes the new generation of Pakistani cricket, leaving an indelible imprint during the 2021-23 WTC cycle. Despite a temporary dip in performance, Babar astounded fans with a triumphant resurgence, setting the bar high for both his team and the future generation of cricketers in Pakistan.
In total, Babar accumulated a commendable 1527 runs, featuring four glorious centuries and ten half-centuries. Remarkably, even after shouldering a significant workload, he has defied all odds, remaining resilient without any signs of injury.
Marnus Labuschagne endured a relatively slow start in the 2021-23 WTC cycle, failing to reach his usual standards of performance. However, he orchestrated a remarkable comeback against the West Indies on his home turf, dominating the visiting bowlers with finesse.
In the broader context, Labuschagne amassed an impressive tally of 1509 runs throughout the WTC cycle, including five centuries and an equal number of half-centuries. His exceptional form against the Indian bowlers during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy positions him as a vital player for Australia in the grand final.
Jonny Bairstow found himself in a challenging situation due to an injury sustained in 2022. However, his exceptional start in 2021, combined with the unwavering support of England’s new coach and their aggressive brand of cricket, enabled him to showcase his true potential.
Throughout the 2021-22 WTC cycle, Bairstow accumulated an impressive total of 1285 runs, averaging an exceptional 68.90. Once Bairstow returns to the English squad, following a successful recovery, his presence will undeniably bestow great advantages upon the team.
Embracing the essence of these extraordinary performances, the WTC has demonstrated that cricket is not solely a sport but a realm where emotions intertwine with skill, leaving an indelible impact on both players and spectators alike.