When we think of Test cricket, the first things that pop up in our mind are the white kits, red cherry, solid defence and above all a leave. These are what makes Test cricket such a great format. As the name suggests, it tests the players’ technique, temperament and mental strength.
The format is all about patience, focus and winning little battles in the middle. Given the nature of the format, the term strike rate seldom comes into play as it is all about the defence and not the fancy shots. Yet there have been players who went on to become very successful in the format with their flamboyant stroke play.
The oldest format of the game has witnessed players who succeeded with a completely different style of play, one that involves taking on the bowler and tearing apart the bowling lineup with outrageous shots. From Viv Richards, Chris Gayle and Virender Sehwag to Adam Gilchrist and David Warner, attacking batters have had their say in the longest format.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 batsmen with the highest strike rate in Test cricket.
5. Graeme Swann
First of the unexpected entrants in the list is former English spinner Graeme Swann. A cunning bowler, Swann was handy with the bat too. The Englishman has 1370 runs under his belt to go with his 255 wickets in Test cricket. In the 60 Tests he played for the Three Lions, Swann cranked up five half-centuries to go with his 17 fifers.
The crafty off-spinner has 181 fours and 19 sixes in the whites which makes helped him leapfrog some of the best in the business to take up the fifth spot in this illustrious list. Swann, who featured in 60 Test matches, boasts of an astonishing strike rate of 76.49 with the bat.
4. Adam Gilchrist
A devastating batter across formats, Adam Gilchrist is hailed as one of the pioneers of the aggressive batting we witness in the modern game today. Apart from being an exceptional wicketkeeper, the Aussie is one of the most feared batters that game has ever seen. And it was the same in the longest format too.
Gilchrist donned the baggy green for 96 matches amassing 5570 runs which included 26 fifties and 17 hundreds. The dashing wicketkeeper-batsman was one of the grittiest as well as a flamboyant stroke player sport has seen. Gilchrist, who is arguably the best middle-order batter for the Aussies, boasts of an astonishing strike rate of 81.95.
3. Virender Sehwag
No list of batsmen with great strike rates is ever complete without Virender Sehwag, the pioneer of aggressive batting in the subcontinent. Sehwag and his unflinching courage to take the best bowlers in the business head-on is what sets him apart from any opener the game has witnessed.
A prolific stroke player, Sehwag never backed down from a challenge and is regarded as one of the most devastating batters to have graced the sport. And the Indian opener played Test cricket with similar ferocity. Sehwag, who has two triple centuries under his belt, operated at an astonishing strike rate of 82.23 in the longest format.
2. Tim Southee
While many of you might be surprised to see Tim Southee so far up the list, one must remember that numbers don’t lie. The Kiwi quick is renowned for his ability to outfox batters but not many know that he is handy with a bat too. Southee has 1737 runs in the longest format which included five half-centuries.
The veteran pacer is very handy with the willow in hand and has struck 169 fours along with 75 sixes. Southee is 15th on the list of most sixes in Test matches having surpassed the legendary Ricky Ponting earlier this year. Southee, who featured in 81 Test matches, boasts of an astonishing strike rate of 84.15 with the bat.
1. Shahid Afridi
One of the finest power hitters in the history of the game, Shahid Afridi tops the illustrious list. The former Pakistan skipper’s ability to dispatch event the best of bowlers to the stands is what earned him the reputation of being a fearsome finisher. And Afridi managed to replicate the power-hitting in the longest format too.
Afridi amassed 1716 runs during his Test career which included five centuries and eight half-centuries. The devastating all-rounder smashed a whopping 220 hours and 52 maximums in the longest format. Southee, who featured in 27 Test matches, boasts of an outworldly strike rate of 86.97 with the bat.
Batsmen with the highest strike rate in Test cricket
Also Read | Most catches in Tests by Indian fielders