If not a win, Virat Kohli’s brilliant effort at Edgbaston in the first Test against England has paid off for the Indian skipper as an individual batsman. According to latest ICC Test rankings, Kohli has gone past former Australian captain Steven Smith as No.1 Test batsman. This is for the very first time Kohli has reached the top of the ICC rankings in the longest format, reports the DNA.
According to the media release from the ICC, Kohli became the seventh India batsman and first since Sachin Tendulkar in June 2011, to top the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen, which were released on Sunday morning following the conclusion of the Edgbaston Test.
Kohli scored 149 and 51 in India’s 31-run defeat and has gone up by 31 points, which have helped him to end Steve Smith’s 32-month reign as the top-ranked batsman and reach the top of the summit for the first time in his 67-Test career. Kohli now leads Smith (who had held the top spot since December 2015) by five points, but will have to maintain the form in the remaining four Tests to finish the series as the world’s highest-ranked batsman.
Tendulkar had joined South Africa’s Jacques Kallis in number-one position in January 2011, but had dropped to second spot following the Jamaica Test in June 2011 after he had missed the three-Test series against the West Indies.
Apart from Kohli and Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Gautam Gambhir, Sunil Gavaskar, Virender Sehwag and Dilip Vengsarkar are the other India batsmen to have achieved number-one rankings during their careers. However, at 934 points, Kohli has become India’s highest-ranked batsman, 14th overall, on the all-time tally of points. Kohli had entered the Edgbaston Test on 903 points, 13 points behind Gavaskar, and is now ahead of the ICC Cricket Hall of Famer by 18 points.
If Kohli can deliver another strong performance in the second Test at Lord’s, then he can break into the top-10 by leapfrogging Matthew Hayden, Kallis and AB de Villiers, whose highest points tally was 935 each. Donald Bradman (961) and Steve Smith (947) are the two batsmen sitting on top of this exclusive list. Kohli, who powered India to the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup title in 2008 and then won the prestigious Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Cricketer of the Year in 2017, is the 76th player to top the Test batting rankings. He is also the number-one ranked ODI batsman, but is ranked 12th in T20Is, 220 points behind number-one ranked Aaron Finch of Australia.