Smith's latest ton challenges recent ascendancy of Kohli

It was Ravi Shastri who while commentating in the Mumbai India-England Test match had said that Virat had settled the issue once for all after his current performance. All the senior cricketers, across the country lines, came forward to vet his views. Steve Smith, however, happens to hold the best record among the fab-four while statistically Virat is holding the fort at second

Sanjay Bhatnagar

Sanjay BhatnagarBy Sanjay Bhatnagar

Published on 15 Dec 2016 11:16 AM GMT

Smiths latest ton challenges recent ascendancy of Kohli
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sanjay-bhatnagar Sanjay Bhatnagar

Lucknow: The spectacular performance of Virat Kohli in calendar year 2016 with three double tons may have tilted the balance in his favour as far as the race for the best batsmen in the world is concerned but the Australian captain Steve Smith re-ignited the issue by scoring 16th century in his 48th cricket Test match against Pakistan on Thursday.

Kohli, who has scored 15 Test centuries in 52 Test matches is ahead of other two contenders for the top slot Joe Root of England (11 centuries in 52 matches) and Kane Williamson of New Zealand (11 tons in 56 matches), still has a score to settle with Smith. The Australian captain has a very healthy average of more than 57 with one century per three matches, better than all three top batsmen of the world.

It was about 30 years ago when the little master Sunil Gavaskar had broken the record of the most centuries by Sir Don Bradman when he had famously said that he just made the statistics while Sir Don made the records. He had gone on to say that if somebody scores 30 centuries in 52 Test matches then he should think he had broken the records of Don who had 29 tons in 52 matches.

Almost similar views were expressed by Geoff Boycott the other day when he sought to dismiss Virat's comparison with Sachin Tendulkar on the same grounds that every century has its own value in terms of need of the hour and the conditions prevailing.

It was Ravi Shastri who while commentating in the Mumbai India-England Test match had said that Virat had settled the issue once for all after his current performance. All the senior cricketers, across the country lines, came forward to vet his views. Steve Smith, however, happens to hold the best record among the fab-four while statistically Virat is holding the fort at second spot.

... but then, Kohli's resplendent form has gone beyond the stats, what Gavaskar had said many years ago and Boycott stated just a day ago. Root has also played the same number of Tests as Kohli in which the former has 11 centuries but a better average of 52 plus as compared to latter's 15 centuries and average of 50. Williomson may have played 56 matches but his average is just below 50 with 14 centuries.

The cricket pundits will go on comparing these four, probably, in the next decade also but it will always be advised to keep stats separate from the quintessence the game of cricket has. Cricket is a glorious game of uncertainties where the class is always permanent.

Sanjay Bhatnagar

Sanjay Bhatnagar

Writer is a bi-lingual journalist with experience of about three decades in print media before switching over to digital media. He is a political commentator and covered many political events in India and abroad.

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