Is Virat Kohli the greatest cricketer of all time?

Virat Kohli King
Cricket has produced some truly legendary players who have etched their names in history. When we talk about the greatest cricketers in history, it’s impossible not to mention iconic players like Sir Don Bradman, Sachin Tendulkar, Sir Vivian Richards, Muttiah Muralitharan and many more. Virat is surely amongst the best but is Virat Kohli the Greatest Cricketer of all time?

Introduction 

Virat Kohli, without a doubt, stands tall as one of the greatest cricketers to have ever played the sport. 

He has scored over 26000 runs in international cricket at an average of over 50 He has also scored 80 centuries, which is the second most by any batsman in history. Kohli is a master of all formats of the game. His ability to adapt to different playing conditions and oppositions is truly remarkable. There is no denying that he has left an indelible mark on the world of cricket but is he the Greatest of all time? Lets Find out.

The numbers below show Virat’s performance in all the formats (as on 12th of December 2023)

FormatSpanMatInnsNORunsHSAvgBFSR100s50s0s4s6s
Test2010-2022115107314008122*52.732905137.961374356117
ODI2008-2023292280441384818358.671479793.585072161294151
T202010-2022115107314008122*52.732905137.961374356117
Total2008-20235185748626532254*54.363341079.4180138342616292

Virat Kohli is a great batsman but he may not be the greatest of all time if we consider all three formats. There are several legends who are ahead of him in Tests & T20. So, in this article we will analyse only the ODI performance.

 

 

Virat’s Journey from Delhi lad to Cricket Legend

virat & sachin together Originally from Delhi, India, Kohli’s journey from a talented young player to becoming legend of the Game  has been truly remarkable. He had the challenging task of stepping into the shoes of the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, and he handled it exceptionally well.

Kohli’s career has been outstanding. He started playing for India in 2008 when he was just 19 years old, and he quickly became a key player in the team’s top order. 

Over the years, Kohli has consistently performed well, scoring centuries (100 runs or more in a single innings) all around the world in various formats of the game.

In a crucial semi-final match against New Zealand on November 16th at Wankhede, Kohli scored his 50th century in One Day Internationals (ODIs), surpassing Sachin Tendulkar’s record. 

This achievement raises the question: Is Kohli now considered the greatest ODI batsman ever?

Why is Virat in called GOAT?

is Virat Kohli the greatest cricketer of all timeVirat’s journey has been extraordinary, filled with achievements & record-breaking performances which  cemented his status as one of the greatest batsmen in the history of cricket.

  • Consistent Run-Machine: Kohli’s ability to consistently score runs across all formats is unparalleled. He became the fastest player to reach 8,000, 9,000, 10,000, 11,000, and 12,000 runs in One Day Internationals (ODIs), shattering records that had stood for decades. His batting average, especially in ODIs, hovered around 60, a number that speaks volumes about his consistency and reliability.
  • Master of the Chase: Kohli redefined the art of chasing targets. His skill in pacing an innings, especially when pursuing a total, is legendary. He has played several memorable innings 52 ball century against Australia in 2013, 82 against Pakistan, 133* against Sri Lanka in Hobart in 2012
  • Test Cricket Mastery: He scored runs everywhere in Test cricket too, showing he’s good in all conditions. In 2018, he scored 593 runs in England, in five Tests. It was way better than his 2014 failures. He learned and got better, handling swing conditions that used to trouble him.

 

A Comparison with Other Cricketing Legends: How Does Kohli Stack Up?

Lets compare Virat with other legends in ODI Cricket in different aspects

Overall ODI Numbers 

When it comes to comparing cricket legends, the name of Virat Kohli inevitably comes up alongside the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Don Bradman, AB  de Villiers . While each of these players has made their mark in the history of the sport.

Cricket records are often used as a measuring stick to compare cricketers from different eras. Brian Lara’s highest individual score of 400 runs in Test cricket or Muttiah Muralitharan’s staggering tally of 800 Test wickets are such examples

When comparing cricketers, it’s essential to consider various factors such as their batting average, number of centuries scored, bowling average, and overall impact on matches.

Lets look at the top 10 run ODI run getters of all time to break it up (as on 3rd of Dec 2023)

PlayerSpanMatInnsNORunsHSAveBFSR1005004s6s
SR Tendulkar (IND)1989-20124634524118426200*44.832136886.234996202016195
KC Sangakkara (SL)2000-2015404380411423416941.981804878.86259315138588
V Kohli (IND)2008-2023292280441384818358.671479793.585072161294151
RT Ponting (AUS)1995-2012375365391370416442.031704680.393082201231162
ST Jayasuriya (SL)1989-2011445433181343018932.361472591.202868341500270
DPMD Jayawardene (SL)1998-2015448418391265014433.371602078.96197728111976
Inzamam-ul-Haq (PAK)1991-20073783505311739137*39.521581274.24108320971144
JH Kallis (SA)1996-2014328314531157913944.361588572.89178617911137
SC Ganguly (IND)1992-2007311300231136318341.021541673.702272161122190
R Dravid (IND)1996-2011344318401088915339.161528571.2312831395042

Although, one look at the table is enough to understand it. However, still let me break it down for you. 

  • None of the batsman in the top 10 has average of more than 50
  • Kohli Averages 58.67 & the next best is legendry Sachin Tendulkar
  • Kohli has played least number of matches in this list & still appears on the 3rd spot. Other legendry players have played way more innings that him but he still manages to outperform them in every deartment
  • Kohli’s innings per fifty-plus score ratio is an astonishing 2.39 & 100 plus score ratio of 5.84 which is the minimum in the list.

Virat’s Performance in a Win

PlayerMatInnsNORunsHSAvgSR100s50s0s
Virat Kohli2342313411157200*56.6390.333598
Virat Kohli180173401004918375.5596.99424310
Ricky Ponting262254361072614549.282.45256911

Virat Kohli is a truly a master of the ODI format, and his numbers in wins are simply mind-boggling. In 173 innings, Kohli has scored a whopping 10049 runs and averages 75.55 in a win.

Kohli is not only the 2nd highest run-scorer in ODI wins, but he also has the highest average. The next man on the list is Sachin Tendulkar, who averages 56.63 in a win. Kohli averages almost 20 points higher than Tendulkar, which is a staggering difference.

Despite being the only batsman to have played less than 200 innings in a win in ODI cricket in the table, Kohli has scored the most number of hundreds (42) in a win. 

Kohli’s numbers in wins are simply remarkable, and they solidify his status as one of the greatest ODI batsmen of all time.


Performance in Different Countries

is virat kohli the greatest cricketer everVirat Kohli is a batting icon who has excelled in ODIs across the globe. In 7 out of the 9 countries he has played in, his batting average is above 50. Even in the remaining countries, his average never dips below 45.

Kohli’s consistency is truly remarkable. He has scored at least one century in every country he has played ODIs in. This sets him apart from other batting legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Kumar Sangakkara, Sanath Jayasuriya, and Mahela Jayawardene, who have all struggled to maintain their form consistently across different countries.

  • Sachin Tendulkar averaged below 40 in 5 countries in ODI cricket. 
  • Ricky Ponting averaged below 35 in 4 countries.
  • Kumar Sangakkara averaged below 40 in 6 countries. 
  • Sanath Jayasuriya averaged less than 30 in 4 countries. 
  • Mahela Jayawardene averaged less than 30 in as many as 7 countries.

Even among his contemporaries like Rohit Sharma and David Warner, Kohli stands out. Rohit Sharma’s average dips below 40 in 6 countries, while David Warner’s average falls below 40 in 3 countries.

Kohli’s unwavering consistency across all countries is a testament to his exceptional talent and adaptability. He is undoubtedly the greatest ODI willow wielder of all time.

Although, it looks that Virat is the greatest of al time but one can not ignore the fact that Cricket has evolved in last few years & the game has become batsman friendly. Power plays, DRS, New Ball, reduced boundary size, all these rules favor the batsman. So, Virat is definitely amongst the best if not the best.

 

Virat Kohli : The Chase Master of Cricket

 

is virat kohli the greatest cricketer everVirat Kohli is like a superhero when it comes to chasing in cricket. Virat Kohli has earned the title of “Chase Master” due to his exceptional ability to excel in run-chase situations in cricket. Known for his incredible composure, technique, and unmatched consistency, Kohli has a remarkable track record of successfully chasing down challenging targets.

He always seems to know how to pace his innings and reach the target with ease. Kohli’s numerous match-winning innings in run chases, where he has single-handedly guided the team to victory, have solidified his reputation as one of the greatest chasers in the history of the game.

Just give him a challenging target, and he becomes supercharged. 

Few of the Virat’s best innings while chasing are

  • 183 against Pakistan in 2012: Pakistan had set a daunting target of 330 runs, putting immense pressure on India to chase it down. The pitch was also slightly slow, making it difficult to score runs quickly.
  • 160 against Australia in 2016: This was a crucial match in the ODI series between India and Australia, Australia had set a challenging target of 309 runs, and India’s top order had collapsed early on. Virat Kohli had to come in and stabilize the innings, facing the pressure of being the team’s main run-scorer. 
  • 133 against Sri Lanka in Hobart: India had to chase a big score of 321 runs in less than 40 overs against Sri Lanka. With other key players like Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar already out, Kohli played a stunning inning, making 133 not out. This helped India reach the target in just 36.4 overs.
  • 82 against Pakistan in Melbourne: 82 against Pakistan in the T20 World Cup 2022 match on October 23, 2022, is widely regarded as one of the greatest T20I knocks of all time. India was chasing a daunting target of 160 runs, and they found themselves in a precarious position at 31/4. However, Kohli stepped up to the occasion and played a masterful knock of 82 runs off 53 balls, guiding India to a thrilling victory. 

Here is a list of top 10 run getters while chasing down a target

PlayerCountryInnsNORunsHS100s50sAvg
S R TendulkarIndia232268720175175242.33
V Kohli*India152337794183274065.50
R G Sharma*India143285748152*153549.98
S T JayasuriyaSri Lanka210155742152103029.45
J H KallisSouth Africa15834557513954544.96
C H Gayle*West Indies151135524162123440.03
B C LaraWest Indies15730542515392842.72
K C SangakkaraSri Lanka161275400134*73340.30
S C GangulyIndia148155231135*73739.33
D P M D JayawardeneSri Lanka176295150126*62835.03

is virat kohli the greatest everVirat Kohli is the undisputed king of ODI run chases. His average of 65.50 in run chases is far superior to any other batsman, and he has scored more centuries in run chases than any other batsman as well.

He is the joint leader in 50 plus scores as well along with Sachin (67 each) 

Kohli’s ability to chase down targets is simply unmatched. He is calm and composed under pressure, and he always seems to know how to pace his innings to perfection. He is a true master of the chase, and he is sure to continue to dominate this aspect of the game for many years to come.

One may argue that the game has eased out for the batsman. However, these numbers prove that he is leaps & bound ahead of others. 

  • Average of 65.50 in ODIs while chasing
  • 27 centuries in ODIs while chasing
  • 67 times he has went past 50 run mark 
  • Highest score of 183 in ODIs while chasing

Kohli is a true legend of the game, and his run-chase prowess is just one of the many reasons why he is so highly respected.

He is clearly the greatest of all time when it comes to chasing

 

 

Conclusion: Is Virat Kohli the Greatest Cricketer of all Time?

Virat Kohli after 50th CenturyKohli stands out for his exceptional skills and consistent performance across all formats.  Like Viv Richards, Tendulkar and Bradman, Kohli’s batting prowess is nothing short of extraordinary. 

In conclusion, deciding if Virat Kohli is the greatest cricketer ever is not easy. He’s incredibly talented, has set many records, and changed the game. But because people have different opinions, it’s hard to say for sure. 

Ultimately, the title of the greatest cricketer of all time may be a matter of personal preference and perspective. However, there is no denying that Virat Kohli’s contributions to the game of cricket. Kohli’s legacy in the cricketing world is etched in stone, and his impact on the sport will be felt for generations to come.

To me Sir Viv Richards, Sachin Tendulkar, Ab de Villiers and Virat Kohli are the 4 Greatest ODI Batsman of all time.

Greatest will always be subjective at the end of the day. 

Although as far as Run Chases are concerned he’s certainly the Greatest.

 

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