The Top-5 batting stars of the World Test Championship

image-lfjq4x3xJoe Root and Jonny Bairstow posing for a photo after a Test win (Twitter/@root66)

It's India vs Australia in the final of the World Test Championship! That would surely be a spectacle to cherish but the World Test Championship is more about just the final. It was introduced to make Test cricket more interesting for the viewers and the players and after two cycles, we can surely say that it has lived up to its billing.

There have been plenty of thrillers, nail-bitters that have re-energised the energy back in the purest form of cricket and let's now see the list of top-5 batters who have topped the charts in the 2021-2023 cycle of the World Test Championship.

Joe Root - 1915 runs

The former England skipper was the second highest run-scorer in the 2019-21 cycle of the World Test Championship and now again with just one game to go in the second cycle, the man finds himself at the top of the ladder.

Joe Root has scored 1915 runs in 22 Tests in this cycle with an average of  53.19 and has fitted in swiftly into the new ultra-aggressive mindset led by Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum. This cycle saw England's fortunes swinging considerably from one extreme to another but Joe Root remained a constant calming force scoring runs consistently across the whole cycle. The man has been a pillar of England's batting line-up for over a decade now and showed once again why he is one of the best in the world.

Usman Khawaja - 1608 runs

One of the most beautiful story of this WTC cycle has been the revival of Usman Khawaja - the all-condition batter. He made his comeback in the Ashes 2022 after three years and smashed centuries in both the innings at the SCG to mark a remarkable comeback. 

Khawaja then went onto score runs in Pakistan and carried that confidence to the India tour where he was the leading run-scorer in the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2023. With one final match to go, Khawaja has piled up 1608 runs in 16 Test matches with almost an average of 70 and six hundreds along the way.

Babar Azam - 1527 runs

Babar Azam is one of the most classy batters in the world cricket right now and he showed all his class in adverse situations for Pakistan in this WTC cycle. He notched up 1527 runs in 14 matches at an average of 61.08. 

Pakistan had a disastrous campaign in the current WTC cycle but as mentioned before, Babar Azam was the one who stood tall when his team was under the pump. It included a marathon knock of 196 runs at Karachi which took his side pretty close to completing a historic chase of 506 against the Aussies. Overall, this might not be a memorable cycle for his team but on a personal front, it can be safely concluded that, Babar Azam - The Test Cricketer has arrived.

Marnus Labuschagne - 1509 runs

The Australian number 3 just continues to grow in stature with each passing year. After topping the batting charts in the 2019-21 cycle of the WTC, the man from Queensland has been in top form in the current WTC cycle as well. 

He has scored 1509 runs in 19 Tests with an average of 53.89 and scored some daddy hundreds along the way including a double century against the Windies at Perth. This was also a tough cycle from the Australian point of view with subcontinent tours and Marnus showed a lot of grit and determination scoring runs in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and in India too. With the WTC final to go, Labuschagne once again will be a key asset for Australia.

Jonny Bairstow - 1285 runs

This has been a cycle of two halves for the charismatic Jonny Bairstow.  He scored 1285 runs in 15 Test matches and became the talk of the town when he led the 'Bazball' charge by nailing some fantastic run-chases against New Zealand and India.  Also before the Bazball came over to England, Jonny showed his grit and class with centuries in Ashes and West Indies.

However, the dream run was cut short when he slipped on a golf course in September 2022 and damaged his ligament which kept him out of the rest of the WTC cycle.

So, these were the five superstars with the bat in the 2021-2023 cycle. The cricket has been enticing and even mesmerising on occasions over the course of last two years. It is now time to tighten your seat belts and get ready for the 7th of June, 2023 as the final battle between India and Australia unfolds...