Depending on whom you ask, Bazball has either revolutionised Test cricket or there’s nothing revolutionary about this method. There’s no middle ground. But even the most passionate detractors won’t refuse the entertainment quotient that Bazball has brought to this English team, which was mired in mediocrity and inconsistency before Brendon McCullum came to the helm. As a coach, you need your skipper to buy your philosophy, and McCullum was lucky to have someone like Ben Stokes, who not only bought the concept of going for broke but even led the way.
Thus it was only fitting that after Stokes hooked Scott Kuggeleijn for the 108th six of his career, he turned towards McCullum, the man whose record of most sixes in Test cricket he surpassed with that one. Stokes has now 109 sixes in 90 Tests, and no active cricketers is close to him. Here are the top five cricketers with the most sixes in Test cricket.
South African legend Jacques Kallis is ranked fifth in the list, having struck 97 sixes in his long, glorious international career that lasted for 167 Tests. Kallis wasn’t a natural six-hitter but a technically adept batter who showed a great deal of patience in the middle, but always punished the bowlers when they erred.
While Chris Gayle the T20 maverick doesn’t need any introduction, his achievement in Test cricket should be celebrated a bit more. He has multiple triple-centuries, 15 centuries, 37 half-centuries, and 73 wickets in Test cricket. Gayle has hit 98 sixes in 103 Tests between 2000 and 2014.
Adam Gilchrist is often hailed as a man who revolutionised the concept of wicket-keepers. He was the wicket-keeper from the future, embraced counter-attacking philosophy when it was not in vogue, and had great success in the legendary Australian side of the early noughties. Gilchrist was the first batter to complete 100 sixes in Test cricket, and he did so in just 96 matches.
For a long time, Brendon McCullum held the record for hitting the most sixes in Test cricket. There have been numerous great batters from New Zealand but none were as entertaining as McCullum used to be in his heyday. Where Martin Crowe once failed after reaching agonisingly close to becoming the first Kiwi cricketer to hit 300, McCullum achieved the feat in the last Test. He smashed 107 sixes in his Test career.
109 Sixes. And it’s not over yet for Ben Stokes, who has a good five or six years of Test cricket left in him. And with the Bazball blueprint that the team abide by, Stokes’ sixes will become an even more frequent phenomenon. By the time Stokes bids adieu, he would have further solidified his claim as the biggest six-hitter of Test cricket.