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Virat Kohli vs Steve Smith: Who is the better batsman?

NEW DELHI: It’s a debate that is rekindled every couple of months. Virat Kohli vs Steve Smith: Who is the better batsman?

The latest to voice his opinion is former England captain Michael Vaughan, who countered one gentleman on twitter who cast his vote for Smith as the best all-format batsman currently, saying that he feels the Indian captain is the one who deserves that tag.

Last year former India captain and current BCCI President Sourav Ganguly had said that he doesn’t want to compare the two players, but he did say that Virat is the best in the world currently. He also added that Smith’s Test records speak for themselves.

If two players have to be compared across formats, we will have to look at their overall statistics across all three formats and the impact they have on games.

What do the numbers say?

In Test cricket, Virat has played 84 matches so far, scoring 7202 runs, at an average of almost 55. Virat has scored 27 Test centuries after making his debut in 2011.

Smith in comparison has played 11 Tests less (73), scoring 7227 runs, at an average of almost 63. Smith has scored 26 Test centuries, since his debut in 2010.

Smith also remember missed one year of cricket due to a ban he served for his role in the ball tampering scandal in the Cape Town Test of 2018.


Another good indicator of a batsman’s overall impact is to see how he has done at home and away in Test cricket.

In the Virat vs Smith comparison, it’s the Australian who holds the edge.

Smith has a home Test average of 71.14 and an away Test average of 60.15.

While Virat has a home Test average of 68.42, which dips to 46.12 in away Tests.


In ODIs meanwhile, Virat is head and shoulders above Smith.

Since his ODI debut in 2008, Virat has played 245 ODIs, scoring 11792 runs, at an average of almost 60. He has 43 ODI centuries to his name and is incredibly just seven tons away from breaking Sachin Tendulkar‘s all time record of the most ODI centuries.

In comparison, Smith has played less than half the ODIs Virat has played with 121 caps so far, since his debut in 2010. Smith has 4039 ODI runs so far, with 9 centuries and an average of 43.

It was no surprise really that the two batsmen finished as the top two run-getters in the recent ODI series which India won 2-1. Smith finished as the highest run scorer with 229 runs. Virat was second with 183 runs.


In T20 internationals too, it’s Virat who has the clear edge.

The Indian captain has so far played 78 T20 internationals, since his debut in 2010, scoring 2689 runs, at an average of over 52 and a highest score of 94 not out.

Smith also made his T20 international debut in 2010, but has only played 36 T20 internationals so far, scoring 577 runs, at an average of 27.47.


The numbers suggest that Smith holds the edge in Tests while Virat is well ahead of him in the limited overs formats. Though Smith does have a better average in the longest format, Virat has the ability to close that gap. A spike in especially his away Test average will help Virat silence those who feel Smith is a better Test batsman. The upcoming 2 Tests in New Zealand will be a good opportunity to take a step in that direction for the Indian captain.

While Virat’s overall technique looks more sound, as compared to Smith’s shifty stance, Smith has the ability to dominate any bowling attack in the world. He spends hours in the nets practising and the way he made a comeback to international cricket after serving his one year ban is a testament to his skills. Australian coach Justin Langer compared his dedication and work ethic to that of Sachin Tendulkar’s saying Smith even shadow bats in the shower.

Virat’s work ethic, determination to dominate the opposition and dedication to fitness are all well documented.

Both players are the anchors in their batting line-ups, batting at number four in Tests and number three in ODIs. Both are high impact players.
Though both Virat and Smith are fierce competitors, there is a lot of mutual respect, because one champion always recognises another.
Virat’s act of stepping in and asking Indian fans not to boo Smith during a World Cup match last year and cheer him instead won the Indian captain the ICC Spirit of cricket award.
Steve Smith is currently 30 years old, while Virat is 31. Both cricketers are extremely fit and great athletes and might have many chapters left to write in their international careers. Who is the better batsman? This debate might rage on for years to come.
Source : timesofindia