Virat Kohli is considered to be the best batsman in the world. His record in the ODIs is phenomenal. He has scored more than 7500 runs in 176 ODI matches at an average of 52.93 runs. He has scored 26 hundreds and 38 half-centuries. He is one of the best finishers in the ODIs.
Virat Kohli is even better in 20-20 matches. He has played 45 T20 international matches and has scored 1,657 runs at a staggering average of 57. 13. He has hit 16 half-centuries. He is indeed the best batsman in limited overs cricket. But, in Test matches, he is good but not great.
He has scored 3,554 runs in 48 Test matches at an average of 45.56. If we compare batting averages, he is not in the list of top 50 in the world. In the list of batsmen, Sir Don Bradman had an average of 99. 54. Australia’s AC Voges has an average of 70.57 runs. He is still playing.
Australia’s Steve Smith has a batting average of 57.73 runs. Even Cheteshwar Pujara has a better batting average than Kohli. England’s Joe Root, who Kohli is often compared with, has an average of 53.28. Hashim Amla and AB DeVilliers also have averages above 50. These numbers suggest something that we don’t really want to admit. Kohli is an average bat in Test matches.
If we talk of batting averages of players who are still playing, Ajinkya Rahane is in the top 10 list. He has a batting average of 51.37. Most of Kohli’s contemporaries including Amla, Kane Williamson, Joe Root and Steve Smith are in the list. Kohli is not there.
Kohli has scored 13 Test centuries and 12 fiftees in 48 matches. Steve Smith has more hundreds and fiftees in 44 matches. Smith has hit 15 hundreds and 19 half-centuries. Hashim Amla has scored 25 Test hundreds (he has 23 centuries in ODIs as well against Kohli’s 26). England’s Alistair Cook has 29 centuries to his name. In only 50 innings, Ajinkya Rahane has 8 centuries.
Kohli’s is often compared with Sachin Tendulkar. Tendulkar, in his first 50 Test matches, had an average of 50. He had scored 11 centuries in that period and had made around 3500 runs. Except the average, Kohli has similar numbers. Tendulkar, in the next 50 Test matches, scored at an average of above 60. He hit 17 Test hundreds in that period. This can be an inspiration for Kohli to do better in Test matches. However, to be as consistent as Tendulkar for more than two decades is near impossible. But, if Kohli had to surpass Tendulkar, he would have to do the impossible.
Currently, the only player who is doing well both in Test matches and in ODIs is Hashim Amla. He holds the record of fastest batsman to reach 2000, 3000 , 4000, 5000 and 6000 runs in ODIs. He averages above 50 in both Test matches and ODIs. In Test, he has scored 25 Test centuries and has scored 7358 runs. He is the most complete batsman in the world, not Virat Kohli. However, Kohli is still young. It would be difficult, but if he could emulate his idol Sachin, he will be the best batsman in the world in the future. But that is not happening overnight.