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Kohli becomes number one batsmen in Test cricket

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Dubai: India captain Virat Kohli on Sunday became the top-ranked batsman in Test cricket for the first time in his career as he ended Australian Steven Smith’s reign of nearly 32 months.

Kohli scored 149 and 51 in India’s 31-run defeat in the first Test in Birmingham against England and has gone up by 31 points, according to an International Cricket Council (ICC) release.

“The 29-year-old right-hander from Delhi also became the seventh India batsman and first since Sachin Tendulkar in June 2011, to top the rankings for Test batsmen, which were released on Sunday morning following the conclusion of the Edgbaston Test,” ICC said.

Kohli now leads Smith (who had held the top spot since December 2015) by five points, but will have to maintain the form in the remaining four Tests to finish the series as the world’s highest-ranked batsman.

Tendulkar had joined South Africa’s Jacques Kallis in the number one position in January 2011, but had dropped to second spot following the Jamaica Test in June 2011 after he had missed the three-Test series against the West Indies.

Apart from Kohli and Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Gautam Gambhir, Sunil Gavaskar, Virender Sehwag and Dilip Vengsarkar are the other India batsmen to have achieved number one rankings during their careers.

However, at 934 points, Kohli has become India’s highest-ranked batsman, 14th overall, on the all-time tally of points. Kohli had entered the Edgbaston Test on 903 points, 13 points behind Gavaskar, and is now ahead of the ICC Cricket Hall of Famer by 18 points.

If Kohli can deliver another strong performance in the second Test at Lord’s, then he can break into the top-10 by leapfrogging Matthew Hayden, Kallis and AB de Villiers, whose highest points tally was 935 each. Donald Bradman (961) and Steve Smith (947) are the two batsmen sitting on top of this exclusive list.

 

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