Indian captain Virat Kohli has been deposed as the number one test batsmen by his old adversary, Steve Smith of Australia.
The Australian had been the number one ranked batsmen between December 2015 and August 2018, when he lost his place to Kohli, whilst he served his one year ban from international cricket imposed following the infamous ball-tampering scandal in the Newlands, Cape Town test in South Africa last March.
That enabled Kohli to assume his position at the top of the ICC rankings, but Smith has now regained his number one status following his performances in the current Ashes series against England. The thirty year old scored back-to-back centuries in the first test at Edgbaston, and made 92 in the second at Lord’s before being forced to miss the third in the series at Trent Bridge, after being hit on the helmet by a delivery from Jofra Archer.
And with two tests still to be played, at Old Trafford and the Oval, Smith has the chance to further extend his lead over Kohli before the summer is finished.
By his high standards, Kohli has not had the best of years with the bat, and has failed to add to his 25 test centuries. In the test centuries just concluded with the West Indies, he scored 9 and 51 in his two innings in the match in Antigua, and then followed that up with scores of 76 and a rare duck in the second game in Kingston, Jamaica.
He will now have to wait until the South Africans arrive in India for a three match test series in October for the chance to once more close the gap on Smith.
The two men have a remarkably similar test record. Smith has scored 6,577 test runs, scoring 25 test centuries and a further 25 half-centuries. Kohli has scored 6,673 test runs, and also made 25 test centuries, although his tally of half centuries is lower at 21. The Australian though has the superior batting average though at 63.24 as opposed to Kohli’s 53.38, by dint of having played 12 fewer test matches.
Meanwhile, two other Indian batsmen feature in the world’s top ten. Cheteshwar Pujara appears at number four in the latest ICC rankings, whilst his team mate Ajinka Rahane appears at number seven. Three New Zealanders – Kane Williamson, Henry Nicholls, and Tom Latham – Joe Root of England, Dimuth Karunaratne of Sri Lanka and Aiden Markram of South Africa make up the rest of the list.