Ricky Ponting (right) stops Virat Kohli from getting into an argument © Getty Images
Ricky Ponting (right) stops Virat Kohli from getting into an argument © Getty Images

Virat Kohli can pride in being the best batsman across formats in current cricket but one man that stands between him and Ricky Ponting’s elusive record is Steven Smith. Kohli climbed to the No. 2 position in the ICC Test Rankings for batsmen after registering 243 and 50 in the recently concluded Delhi Test against Sri Lanka. He already holds the top spot in the ODI and T20I batsmen rankings.

Ponting is the only man in the game’s history to have held the top spot across formats at the same time.

ICC Test Batsmen Rankings

Rank Player Ratings
1 Steven Smith (AUS) 938
2 Virat Kohli (IND) 893
3 Joe Root (ENG) 879
4 Cheteshwar Pujara (IND) 873
5 Kane Williamson (NZ) 865

ICC ODI Batsmen Rankings

Rank Player Ratings
1 Virat Kohli (IND) 889
2 AB de Villiers (SA) 872
3 David Warner (AUS) 865
4 Babar Azam (PAK) 846
5 Quinton de Kock (SA) 808

ICC T20I Batsmen Rankings

Rank Player Ratings
1 Virat Kohli (IND) 824
2 Aaron Finch (AUS) 784
3 Evin Lewis (WI) 780
4 Kane Williamson (NZ) 716
5 Glenn Maxwell (AUS) 700

In limited-overs, Kohli is head and shoulders above his peers but in Tests, the Australian captain is the big thorn. Smith is 45 points clear of Kohli. While the mark of 50 is considered as great, Smith averages over 60 in whites. Ponting and Allan Border recently opined that Smith can potentially end as the greatest Test batsman since Don Bradman. If Kohli has to reach the pinnacle spot in Test cricket in order to equal Ponting’s unique feat, he will have to continue his golden run in South Africa, and at the same time hope for the English bowlers to make merry against Smith in the ongoing Ashes.

Meanwhile, Kohli has already equalled Ponting’s feat as a captain. India became only the third team after England and Australia to register 9 consecutive Test series wins. England did it in the late 19th century while Ponting’s men achieved the feat in the previous decade.

Ponting’ Australia vs Kohli’s India

Team Home Series Away Series Tests W L D
Australia 6 3 26 22 1 3
India 6 3 30 21 2 7

There is a lot of similarity that one can draw between Kohli and Ponting. Both made their way to be the leaders in their team’s top-order. Both are brash and aggressive cricketers. While one became one of the most successful captains and greats of the game, the younger one is on the verge as well.

Kohli, in the ODI series against New Zealand, registered his 31st ODI hundred and in doing so, he went past Ponting’s tally of 30. With 32 ODI tons, Kohli is only behind Sachin Tendulkar (49).