Virat Kohli or Steven Smith, who is the best batsman of the current generation?
Well, that’s not an easy question to answer because both the players have been phenomenal in the year 2017. Both of them have set several benchmarks which are just impeccable. In ODIs, Kohli is leading the ICC ranking tables while Smith is ruling in Tests. Meanwhile, Australia’s legendary spinner Shane Warne answered this not-so-easy question. Warne thinks that “Steven Smith is the best batsman in the world.”
As per several media reports, Shane Warne opined in a column that the current Aussie skipper has outclassed his Indian counterpart in the Test format, hence he is the best. Warne wrote,
Steve Smith is the best Test batsman in the world. Virat Kohli is the best across all three formats of the game, but across five days, Smith is the man.
Warne described his reason for terming Smith as the best and wrote,
To me, a great batsman has to have made a hundred in three key countries: in England, against the Duke ball on seaming and swinging pitches; in Australia, on our fast-paced, bouncy tracks; and of course, in the dust bowls of India, on pitches that spin and spit.
“The hole in Kohli’s CV on the Test match stage is in England and the pressure is on the fiery but very likeable Indian to carry over some double-ton magic from home soil to that country when his team tours next year,” he wrote.
This was Warne’s opinion who shortlisted top 11 batsmen where the Indian and the Aussie skipper shared the 19th spot. The list also includes batting legends like Viv Richards, Brian Lara, Greg Chappell, Ricky Ponting, Allan Border, Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers and Graham Gooch.
What do the stats say?
If we compare the performances of Virat Kohli and Steven Smith in Test circuit in the year 2017, the stats will be pretty close. While Smith has performed mostly away from home, Kohli scored most of the runs at home.
Take a look at the stats:
Smith is now second only to Sir Don Bradman as far as rating points are concerned, he has 945 points in his kitty. Smith scored the second double century of his Test career at Perth and dismantled the English bowling lineup which comprised of James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Craig Overton.
On the Other hand, Virat Kohli scored 3 double hundreds this year. He has been carrying a splendid form, but at the same time, he has not really been tested against quality bowling lineups. For instance, in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, he could only score 46 runs from 6 innings against a challenging bowling lineup compared to Smith’s tally of 499 runs in 8 innings.
In the ODIs, he is currently the number 1 batsman in the ODI format and also the highest run-getter of 2017.
Steve Smith’s current form is the best a batsman could ever have. But the way Kohli shifted the gear in the recently concluded Sri Lanka series, he is expected to carry the same in South Africa. If he does so, he will easily dethrone Smith and claim the top position.
He has a great chance to equal Ricky Ponting’s records of being number 1 batsman across all the formats at a time. Former Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting has been the only batsman till date to reach this feat in December-January 2005-06, while his compatriot Matthew Hayden is the other batsman to have topped all three formats.