HomeCricketWhere does Tom Latham, the man behind 2018's most...

Where does Tom Latham, the man behind 2018’s most dogged effort stand in world cricket?

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There are batsmen who’ll always be remembered for runs. They’ll always be poster-boys of cricket. There’ll be those who’ll be respected for possessing grace. They’ll be exquisite and men of purpose, carrying out a duty, such as the dutiful bridesmaids. Then there’ll always be the ones who’d find admiration for displaying valiance but with quiet dignity.
Probably, Tom Latham belongs to this group.
If not, then where does he?
In contemporary cricket, it’s not entirely surprising to find a somewhat excessive usage of the term ‘Fab Four’. It’s a prestigious circuit of batsmen who are considered more than just great. And they’ve earned this praise by virtue of passion for rigor.
The concept of Fab Four is an emblem of consistency that represents the world’s four-best active batsmen. It includes the genius Kohli, the dogged Joe Root, the irrepressible Steve Smith, and the determined Kane Williamson. But adjectives be damned, what about those who do not exactly fall into cricket’s Hollywoodian version of ‘Fantastic Four?’

Where do the likes of Faf du Plessis, Pujara, Shai Hope belong?

Latham has been pretty consistent for new Zealand (Image: The Indian Express)

In fact, have their fans come up with some jazzy merriment that can afford their talent yet?
In the light of what a New Zealander did a few hours ago and with a certain keenness, does Tom Latham bel0ng to this list?
Against Sri Lanka, Tom Latham struck 264 runs. There are hundreds, there are double hundreds, and there are daddy double hundreds. These are of the kinds that Lara is known to have struck.
Remember his 277 against Australia?
Probably, to even his critics- for it’s easier to become one in today’s day and age- Tom Latham’s knock was a daddy double.
It had all the bearings of what one would find in a Test specialist. He was watchful. Yet offered strokes as a beautiful respite from seeing one maiden over too many.
He was cautious about where his off stump was, particularly against Lakmal and Rajitha, who bowled 11 maidens between them. Yet, at the same time, he matched grace with a sense of purpose where each time he stepped down the ground or adjusted his weight beautifully on the front knee to send the red ball over the green blades in the cover or point boundary.
He came out as an opener and managed to hit New Zealand’s only double century this year.
In so doing, he carved New Zealand’s fourth-highest individual score against Sri Lanka in Tests, and sixth overall.
Somehow, whilst other more renowned batsmen, whose bats ooze fancy statistics came and went, young Latham even managed to remain unbeaten.
What we often forget about Tom Latham- perhaps a quieter, more technically sound, less attacking, hence sedate version of Quinton de Kock of Proteas- is that he’s all of 26.
Yet what should endear him to a larger foothold of fans of the art of batting is this very aspect; that he’s so young and still, so graceful and watchful beyond his age. That it doesn’t, perhaps not in the magnitude of fans his batting should ideally amass is beyond explanation.

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Do you think Latham- 15 fifties, 6 tons from 39 Tests- hasn’t played other chunky knocks?

Tom Latham
Latham’s a graceful, dogged batsman (TVNZ.com)

A year and a half back, at Wellington, Latham cut loose against an unsuspecting Bangladesh in the First Test in 2017.
In overshadowing Mushfiqur’s 159 and Shakib’s 217, a knock that came at a strike rate of 78, Latham responded with diligence.
He created a monument of sorts in his 177 runs that came off 329 balls. He’d hang around for 463 minutes. Do the math and you’d find out that he played more than 50 overs of an ODI on his own.

He was a 25-year-old then

Tom Latham
Tom Latham has already scored 10 international 100s (Zimbio)

It was, truth be told, a 2017 knock that got as sufficiently overshadowed in front of Hope’s Headingley brilliance despite its obvious resourcefulness as have many Dravid heroics in front of Tendulkar’s tons.
If you further rewind back a year and remember the scenes of December’s 2016 Christchurch Test, you’d recall Latham hammering the same opponents, albeit in the shorter format.
This time, playing amid home crowds, at Christchurch, he’d carve 137 glitzy runs, a knock that came off just 121 balls and featured 4 sixes. The next best knock was 87 by Colin Munro.
But what makes Tom Latham a beautiful throwback to the yesteryear’s is that he’s a batsman who loves to preserve his wicket. At the same time, the left-hander is a product of his times, someone who can beautifully change gears in an inning, hang in there when needed and accelerate when the scoring rate demands so.
His obvious talent offers New Zealand a cushion of sorts in the sense that scoring valuable runs isn’t exclusively restricted to Williamson or Taylor alone.
Above anything, he’s this umbrella for a rainy day when the likes of dashers- Guptill, Munro, Santner- fail to get going.
That Tom Latham possesses a will to negotiate the new ball, willingly soldiering on as an opener warrants the respect he’s so often not given.
But whose loss is that?
Kiwis, eternally habitual of enduring pleasantly and continuing uncomplainingly aren’t fishing for our compliments.
Yet, could the lack of serious journalism being attributed to Latham have something to do with the fact that his technique is the greatest in the world?

Could it be that he is not the best at handling deliberately pitched shorter ones?

Tom Latham
Latham is a complete international player (Image: Wide World Of Sports-nine)

Who knows?
Here’s what can be said, for certain.
Probably, nothing would assure New Zealand of a greater chance than anyone in the 2019 World Cup than the fact that in Latham they’ve got a useful keeping-bat.
Add a possibly returning Neesham to the ODIs and you’ve got a serious threat up front, no?
Then who cares whether Latham’s got a million followers on Instagram or hundreds of retweets each day, isn’t it?

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Dev Tyagi
Dev Tyagi
Dravid believer, admirer of - the square drive, Drew Barrymore, Germany, Finland, Electric Mobility, simplicity and the power of the written word! Absolutely admire contributing to KyroSports

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