Cricket

Most Test wins, most double centuries, pace revolution: Numbers that made captain Kohli great

The day Virat Kohli was handed India's Test captaincy (full time) in 2014, India were ranked No 7 Test team in the world. Fast forward to the day when he left India’s Test captaincy, in 2022, India were at the pinnacle of the Test rankings.

There's a lot that happened in between those two days. India became a force to reckon with in Test cricket. They started winning away regularly. They were no more the pushovers in SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia) countries. They became firebreathing dragon at home. Not only his country, but he also played a huge role in taking Test cricket to great heights. He was a great ambassador for Test cricket. Before he took over, winning India overseas was termed as an upset but when he left, cricket fans and experts felt that India losing overseas was an upset. That was the kind of legacy that he created in international cricket as a Test captain of Team India.

Virat Kohli is India’s most successful Test captain by some distance. In fact, he is the world's fourth-most successful Test captain of all time. Beating his team at home was a dream for many, not in the series but in a Test. He led India in 11 home Test series and India didn’t lose any of them. In fact, India lost only two Tests under his captaincy at home out of 31 Tests while winning 24.

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Kohli, in his first Test as captain, when he stood in for an injured MS Dhoni, set the blueprint for the rest of his tenure as he decided to go chasing Australia’s target of 364 with a masterful 141 in the second innings of the first Test Adelaide in 2014, but fell short by 48 runs. India might have lost that Test but it sent out a loud message that Kohli's India will be going for win at all costs. It was the series in which Kohli took over as full time captain after MS Dhoni stood down after the third Test. During Kohli's captaincy tenure India beat Australia (twice), Sri Lanka and West Indies in their own backyard. His team was leading in the series against England away from home 2-1 before the last Test of the series was cancelled due to COVID-19.

He not only led India on the field but also with the bat on many occasions as a skipper. Under his captaincy in Test cricket, no one scored more runs than him in the Indian team. In fact, he scored the fourth-most runs as a captain in Test cricket. He hit 20 centuries as a Test captain which is the second most by any captain in the whites while no captain hit more double centuries than Kohli (7) in Test cricket.

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Virat Kohli was known as a bowlers’ captain, especially pace bowlers. He led India's bowling revolution where the Indian pacers achieved greater heights. Jasprit Bumrah made his Test debut under Kohli and there is no stopping him in cricket’s ultimate format now. Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami all underwent drastic improvement and became a force to reckon with. Kohli injected motivation, energy and belief into this bowling unit and they delivered. He set the fitness standards high and that helped the longevity of the bowlers.

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Indian pacers as a package had a better average and SR under Kohli than any of the above-mentioned names. It’s not just about pacers, Ashwin took more wickets than anybody else under Kohli’s leadership – 293 wickets from 55 matches at an average of 22.13 while Jadeja was the third highest wicket-taker – 165 wickets from 40 matches at an average of 24.72.
Under Kohli, India registered their biggest win by runs – 372 runs against New Zealand at Mumbai in 2021 and also the biggest win by an innings – an Innings and 272 runs against West Indies at Rajkot in 2018.

Kohli played a monumental knock of 254 runs against South Africa in Pune in 2019 which is the highest score by an Indian captain in Test cricket. Kohli scored a century in all the countries in which he played at least two Tests except New Zealand.

Under Kohli, India won 72 percent Test series and played a final of the first-ever World Test Championship.

He surpassed his predecessors in some style and has set a new benchmark for his successor to accomplish. Kohli has left a long-lasting legacy as Test captain.

Updated Date: January 17, 2022 13:59:54 IST

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