Batting is not just about going out in the middle and murdering the cricket ball with full might. Plenty of times, situation demands applications of batsman’s brain and to show good defensive temperament. It’s an ultimate test of a batsman when he is asked to save the game from the jaws of the defeat. The people who were champions of this art are being discussed here.
1. Rahul Dravid
Rahul Dravid’s prodigious defense can be estimated by the fact that he was called “The Wall”. His unassailable defense was the reason behind him taking India out of the crisis on number of occasions. His solid technique and patience has helped him do wonders in both test and one day cricket. He might have been over shadowed by the great and flamboyant Sachin Tendulkar for a greater part of his career but his achievements are no short of any of the modern day greats. His performances against England in 2011 test series remind us of his ability to maintain discipline in the tightest of the situations.
2. Sunil Gavaskar
Words really can’t describe the genius of Sunil Gavaskar. His unflinching focus and concentration against lethal West Indian fast bowling and that too without helmet was just a miraculous achievement. The enormity of his task can be understood from the fact that he was an opening batsman and it was always his job to soak in the pressure applied by the fast bowlers early on. He is the inspiration that lead to the birth of Indian batting juggernaut which flabbergasted the entire world of cricket with their talent.
3. Misbah ul Haq
Harsha Bhogle once famously said “There are two things that Misbah ul Haq sees every day in his life. One is the bright sun shine and the other is the score of 30-3 when he comes out to bat.” He has been the Mr. Dependable for Pakistan for the last six years. Every time Pakistan team is in trouble, he comes to rescue them. He has remarkable temperament to stay on the crease for ages. He tears down the bowlers to frustrate them and then he makes use of their frustration. There is so much to admire about this man. He is older than anybody else, he has got more resolve than anybody else and he has got a better technique than anybody else. He is often criticized by the media for playing too slow. But the fact is he just played the way his team wanted him to play.
4. Javed Miandad
Javed Miandad is the greatest batsman that Pakistan has ever produced. He is solid in his technique with resounding courage. He was never afraid of the facing fiery fast bowlers because he knew that he had a solid defense in his armory which will enable him to stand resolutely in front of the most ferocious of the bowlers. He is famously known for his historic six against India at Sharja. But the real genius of Javed Miandad lied in his ability to neutralize the bowling attacks with his astute mindset and strong defense. This is what he did in the final match of 1992 world cup against England to establish a slow but steady partnership with Imran Khan to win Pakistan the cup.
5. Shivnarine Chanderpaul
He has the most un orthodox stance among all batsmen and one would think that with his technique, it would be difficult for him to have a good defense and one would assume that it will be easy to bowl him through the gate but he know how to do business on his own terms and he is master of making the bowler tired and worn out. His record is sufficient to justify his batting technique and trigger movements.
6. Jacques Kallis
One of the greatest all rounder of the game with heaps of runs and bulk of wicket under his belt in both the formats has one of the strongest defensive batting technique. He could play both pace and spin equally well and his record in all the regions of the world is astounding. The ease and composure in his batting was one of its kind and it’s no wonder that he has been able to resist all the great bowling line ups for over a decade.
7. Kumar Sangakara
He is perhaps the greatest left handed batsman of all time with all the elegance in the world. He is the man who has absolutely destroyed the spinners all around the world and is equally good against the seamers. Saeed Ajmal has rated him as the most difficult batsman he has bowled against. He was rock solid in his defense and his hand and eye coordination was excellent. Moreover his head was always steady while executing the stroke. This feature made him the ultimate super star of Sri Lanka.
8. Hashim Amla
Hashim Amla’s career can be divided into two phases. One was pre 2010 where he was sidelined from shorter format because of his lack of improvisation required for shorter version of the game. But his post 2010 era was an absolute revelation and became a constant member of South African side because of his brilliant ability to control the game and strong defense against any bowling attack in the world. He can up his strike rate at any stage of the game and is silently kills the opposition with his ability to absorb the pressure applied by strike bowlers.
9. Faf du Plesis
Even though Faf du Plesis is a popular figure in T20 cricket and franchise cricket but his temperament for test cricket and the ability to defend against most threatening fast bowlers and spinners is commendable. His ability to save South Africa from the scourge of defeat in the most critical circumstances has earned him great recognition in world cricket. The most famous one happened at Adelaide in 2012 where he batted for 466 balls and 376 minutes. This was the game which lead to the establishment of Faf du Plesis has a renowned commodity in international cricket.
10. Jonathan Trott
Jonathan Trott was the member of the English team that white washed India in 2011 to emerge as the number 1 team in test cricket. He had a purple patch in that season and was almost impossible to get out. He could be devastating in terms of his ability to soak in the deliveries and make the bowler tired. He was a paramount factor in taking England to the ultimate heights in test cricket.