It is fair to say that excelling across all the three formats of the game is the greatest yardstick to differentiate between an average cricketer, good cricketer, great cricketer, and a once-in-a-generation cricketer. In the modern game, the demands have multiplied manifolds with the addition of a new format.
In the case of a batsman, in order for him to consider as the best in the business, not only does he have to ensure that he counters varied conditions around the world but also ensure that he thrives in all three formats of the game.
In the modern era, no cricketer has asserted his supremacy across different formats more than the current Indian captain, Virat Kohli. Kohli is one of the members of the Fab-4 which includes generational talents like Steve Smith, Joe Root, and Kane Williamson but what separates him from the rest of them is the precision with which he aced the different challenges that Test, ODI, and T20I format offer.
Kohli, who made his international debut in 2008, is the only cricketer who is currently averaging above 50 in all three formats. The champion Indian batsman has 70 centuries to his name [Test- 27, ODI- 43] besides being the only one who scored more than 20000 runs in the erstwhile decade.
Kohli is a run-away favorite to win the ICC ‘Player of The Decade’ Award but according to renowned commentator Mark Nicholas, Virat is currently not in the list of great all-format as he feels that his T20 game has been ‘left in a limbo’ after the recent edition of the Indian Premier League.
Nicholas went on to pick Pakistan superstar Babar Azam in the list besides picking Jasprit Bumrah, Jofra Archer, Kagiso Rabada Kane Williamson, David Warner, Quinton de Kock, Pat Cummins.
”How many cricketers on this earth are a shoo-in for a World XI in all three formats of the international game. Not many. David Warner and Jasprit Bumrah, perhaps? Maybe not Virat Kohli right now, after an IPL that seemed to have left his T20 game somewhat in limbo,” Mark Nicholas wrote in his column ESPNCricinfo.
”Then again, maybe Kohli is an unwise omission. Babar Azam? Kane Williamson possibly? Ben Stokes surely! And which of Kagiso Rabada, Jofra Archer, and Pat Cummins, or all three? Trent Boult? Mitchell Starc?Ah, here’s one. Quinton de Kock. Yes, certain tick – Quinny the Quiet, with his gifts from the gods.” he added.
Mark Nicholas’ current all-format World XI:
David Warner, Quinton de Kock, Babar Azam, Ben Stokes, Kane Williamson, Jos Buttler, Ravi Ashwin, Rashid Khan, Jofra Archer, Kagiso Rabada, Jasprit Bumrah