Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli raises his bat after scoring a double century against England.
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli raises his bat after scoring a double century against England. Rafiq Maqbool

Indian maestro reaches unprecedented milestone

CRICKET: Australian captain Steve Smith may be the No.1-ranked batsman in Test cricket, but it's hard to go past his Indian counterpart Virat Kohli as the absolute best with the willow in the world.

Kohli is two rungs down on the Test batting list, with England's Joe Root separating he and Smith.

But no other player averages at least 50 across all three forms of cricket at international level like the Indian maestro.

Following his knock of 235, which helped catapult his side to a third straight Test win over England - with one to go in their series - Kohli's batting average finally ticked over to 50 (50.53).

It is the Test arena that he hadn't quite mastered, until now.

He also averages 52.93 in one-day internationals and an unprecedented 57.13 in Twenty20 internationals, when anything over 30 is considered good.

In 2016 alone, he has averaged 80, 92.3 and 106.8 in the three formats, respectively.

For the record, Smith averages 56.7 in Tests, 42.9 in ODIs and 21.5 in T20Is, and Root 52.9 in Tests, 45.7 in ODIs and 37.5 in T20Is.

South African pair Hashim Amla (50.1 in Tests, 51.3 in ODIs and 31.5 in T20Is) and AB de Villiers (50.4 in Tests, 53.6 in ODIs and 23.5 in T20Is) also fail to compare to Kohli's formidable record.

For good measure, he also averages 51.95 in first-class cricket and 52.09 in List A (domestic one-dayers).

Kohli and Smith going head to head when their teams meet next February-March in India is a mouth-watering proposition - one Aussie great Ian Chappell was looking forward to.

"It should be a fascinating contest between these two evolving captains when they clash in early 2017,” he said.

"With both aspects - batting and captaincy - of equal importance, it will be the one who provides plenty of runs and inspiration for his bowlers who will be holding aloft the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.”

TERRY MALLINDER



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