With the Indian cricket team closing in on clinching the Pataudi Trophy on English soil for the first time since 2007, the talk of the town throughout the entire Test series has been that of Virat Kohi vs Joe Root.
After India’s enigmatic captain Virat Kohli wasn’t a part of the Men in Blue’s historic Border-Gavaskar Trophy victory down under, the middle-order batsman has struggled to cement his authority in the ongoing five-match Test series as well. On the other hand, Joe Root has been in the form of his life, tallying a whopping 564 runs in the first four Test matches itself.
However, one half-decent series doesn’t take away the credibility from Kohli, who has been in a stupendous over the last decade. Virat Kohli was the only player to feature in all the three ICC Men’s Teams of the Decade (ODI, T20I and Test) and was also named the captain in the ICC Test Team of the decade at the ICC Awards.
Of course, England skipper Joe Root remains the man in form and is most likely to end the Test series as the highest scorer by some margin. But that doesn’t put Kohli on the back foot, as we find out in the following comparisons between two of the world’s best batsmen at the moment.
Joe Root vs Virat Kohli in Tests
In Test cricket, both Virat Kohli and Joe Root come into bat at the middle-order position, number four. Despite specializing in the limited-over formats, Virat Kohli has never shied away from the challenge of Test cricket, while Joe Root is widely considered to be tailor-made for Tests. Hence, it is in the longest format that the comparison can most accurately be made.
Joe Root has played 109 Test matches with 9278 runs to his name in 200 innings. The English captain averages 50.15, with his highest score being 254. Root has hit 23 centuries and 50 half-centuries in this format.
Virat Kohli has played 96 Tests so far, with his run tally being 7765 at an average of 51.08. The Indian skipper has 27 centuries and 27 fifties in Tests, but the most interesting fact in this comparison is both the batsmen have 254 as their highest score. Virat Kohli, though, had remained unbeaten in his highest score, unlike Root.
Joe Root vs Virat Kohli in ODIs
While Root triumphs the Indian by some distance in Test matches, Kohli has been unparalleled in the ODI format when compared to his contemporaries. With a whopping 12169 runs in 254 ODI matches, the Indian is a maestro in chasing targets boasting an average of 59.07 and has 43 centuries and 62 fifties to his name.
On the other hand, the Englishman has 6109 runs to his name in 152 matches at an average of 51.33 in the ODI format. He has 16 centuries and 35 fifties to his name, but unlike Kohli, Root’s efficacy in ODIs takes a slump as the England cricket team takes a more holistic approach to the 50-over format.
With Joe Root not being a regular in T20Is, it is redundant to compare the two batsmen in the shortest format of the game.
Joe Root vs Virat Kohli: Against SENA
One of the parameters in modern-day cricket comparisons is a player’s record against the SENA countries – South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia.
Both Joe Root and Virat Kohli have led from the front in Tests against the premium opponents. Since making his debut in 2012, Root has scored 1694 runs against Australia, 2353 runs vs India, 992 vs New Zealand and 1164 against South Africa.
Kohli made his Test debut in 2011 and since then, he has tallied 1682 vs Australia, 1960 vs England, 830 vs New Zealand and 1075 vs South Africa. While Root’s numbers are clearly better than Kohli’s in the longest format, the Indian comes back to dominate in ODIs yet again.
Debuting in ODIs in 2013, Root has 654 runs vs Australia, 728 runs vs India, 932 runs vs New Zealand and 594 runs against South Africa.
Virat Kohli’s batting record in ODIs brings proper daylight between him and Joe Root. Debuting in 2008, he has scored 2083 runs vs Australia, 1307 runs vs England, 1378 runs ve New Zealand and 1287 runs vs South Africa.
Joe Root vs Virat Kohli: Who is the better captain
Joe Root assumed the captaincy role only in 2017, following which he has led England in 56 Test matches so far, winning 27 of them and enjoying a 48.21 % success rate. Of course, England’s different setup in limited-overs cricket sees Eoin Morgan leading England in ODIs and T20Is.
Virat Kohli, on the other hand, is India’s captain across all three formats since taking over from MS Dhoni in Tests back in 2013. Since then, Kohli has led India in 65 Test matches, winning 38 of them and enjoying a 41.53% success rate. Kohli is currently the most successful Indian cricket captain in Tests, followed by MS Dhoni (27) and Sourav Ganguly (22).