Virat Kohli has reigned supreme in the ICC Test Batting Rankings with only handful players coming anywhere close to the Indian run-machine. For the longest time, Steve Smith was the only challenger to Kohli’s throne but with the former Australia captain getting embroiled in the infamous ball-tampering scandal in South Africa and being handed a one-year ban by Cricket Australia, it seemed Kohli’s rule would go unchallenged. After the latest ICC rankings were released on Tuesday, a new challenger has emerged to Kohli’s throne — New Zealand captain Kane Williamson.
Williamson has become the first New Zealand batsman to break the 900-point barrier in the batsman’s ratings.
Kohli has been sitting pretty at the top of the rankings since the Edgbaston Test against England this year but Williamson’s performance against Pakistan has seen the Indian captain’s lead at the top reduce to just seven points.
The New Zealand skipper was in fine form in the third and final Test against Pakistan where he scored 89 and 139.
Not only did Williamson’s performance set up New Zealand’s convincing 123-run victory over Pakistan but it also earned him 37 ranking points, allowing him to leapfrog Australia’s Steve Smith into second position on a career-high 913 points.
The win in the final Test in Abu Dhabi last week helped New Zealand clinch their first away series win over Pakistan in 49 years.
While Williamson shone with the bat against Pakistan, Virat Kohli didn’t fare too well in the opening Test of the four-match series against Australia.
India pulled off a sensational 31-run win over the hosts at the Adelaide Oval for their first Test win on Australian soil in a decade.
Kohli, though, managed scores of only three and 34 in the two innings that saw him concede 15 points to slip to 920 points.
The Indian captain would be hoping for a much-improved performance in the second Test that starts in Perth on Friday. But Williamson too will have a chance to run Kohli close with New Zealand hosting a struggling Sri Lanka for a two-Test series starting December 15.