16The busy home season for Team India is set to get busier with the five-match Test series against England commencing from November 9 at Rajkot. The series holds huge significance as the two teams have shared quite a fascinating rivalry of late. India lost badly to England when they visited them in 2011 and 2014. While the margin of loss was particularly severe in 2011, when they were whitewashed in the four-match series, India were ahead in the series till the second Test in 2014, before going on to lose the remaining three Tests as well as the series 3-1. Full Cricket Scorecard: India vs England 1st Test at Rajkot.

In between these two series, the two teams met once in India as well. The year was 2012 and it was a four-game contest. India started with a win but went on to squander the lead in the second Test at Mumbai, where a Kevin Pietersen-special snatched the game away from them. This rearguard knock by the maverick batsman along with captain Alastair Cook s hundred changed the course of the series as India went on to lose the series 2-1. English spin duo of Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar also played a massive role in that series win, sharing 37 wickets between them.

The two teams are up against each other for yet another thrilling series, with India, surprisingly, starting as the favourites this time. England, after a poor outing in Bangladesh, where they drew the series 1-1, will start as the underdogs. But the eyes won t just be trained on the result of the series; they will also be firmly trained on two individuals Virat Kohli and Joe Root. All will want to know how the two individuals fare in the series, which is already being seen as the clash between these two modern day greats, and why not?

These two players have taken the world cricket by storm ever since they burst on to the international cricket scene. While Kohli has already gone on to become a limited-overs great with his phenomenal record in the shorter formats, Root has not been far behind and has been ruling the roost especially in Tests.

If we talk about the year 2016, Root has been the leading run scorer across formats with 2,079 runs to his name from 36 games at an astounding average of 50.70. The Indian run-machine follows him closely with 1,940 runs from 32 games at a majestic average of 80.83. Only 139 runs separate the two. Thus, the five-match series between the two teams will effectively determine who amongst the two will end 2016 as the highest run getter across formats. Both these men will get equal opportunities 5 tests and a maximum of 10 innings to end the year as numero uno.

Meanwhile, let s take a look at how the two players stack up against each other statistically in the shorter formats first, as bulk of their runs this year have precisely come in limited-overs games.

In ODIs

Player Matches Innings Runs Average 100s 50s
Kohli 176 168 7570 52.93 26 38
Root 78 73 3017 45.71 8 17

In T20Is

Player Matches Innings Runs Average 100s 50s
Kohli 45 41 1657 57.13 0 16
Root 21 19 600 37.50 0 4

Kohli scores heavily over his counterpart in the shorter formats and that is pretty evident from the statistics. Kohli s conversion rate has been phenomenal, as he has converted his starts into big scores more often compared to Root. The Indian Test captain also enjoys a superior average of over 50 in both the formats while Root fails on that front. One must also not forget Root is three years younger to Kohli, which means he has ample time to catch up and rewrite the records.

Three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and equal number of Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) will be played between the two teams next year, after the two teams are done with the five Tests and English team returns back from home after celebrating Christmas. Those six games will give these two players another chance to further improve their numbers. Since those games are far away at the moment, let s take a look at the numbers of Kohli and Root in Tests. With the beginning of the Test series just a couple of days away, a look at their record in Tests makes more relevance.

Both these modern-day greats stack up equally here, at least in terms of the number of Tests played. This is a fair indicator of Kohli and Root s abilities and a better parameter to compare the two since they have coincidentally played equal number of games in their career thus far.

 

In Tests

Player Matches Innings Runs Average 100s 50s
Kohli 48 82 3554 45.56 13 12
Root 48 88 4103 53.28 10 23

 

Both Kohli and Root have played 48 Tests till date and the latter has got more number of runs than the former. Apart from the runs scored, Root (53.28) also has a better average than Kohli (45.56). However, where Kohli scores above Root is in the conversion rate. The 28-year old Delhi dasher has got more hundreds (13) than fifties (12), which is a testament to his high conversion rate. It suggests he has converted his starts into bigger scores more often than Root, who has 10 hundreds and 23 fifties in those games.

When we are talking numbers, it is pertinent we look at them with a home/away lens. In today s times, virtually all the teams have become home bullies and poor travellers. While the players from the Indian subcontinent struggle in conditions overseas, which are conducive for seam and swing bowling, others struggle on subcontinent s slow and low, turning tracks. A good player, thus, can be judged by his away record in current scenario.

 

In Tests (Home / Away)

Player Matches (H/A) Runs Average 100s 50s
Kohli 20/28 1368/2186 47.17/44.61 4/9 7/5
Root 28/17 2601/1215 59.11/43.39 8/2 12/11

On this front, Kohli scores a little more than Root, as he has done slightly better in away games. In 28 away Tests, Kohli has got 2,186 runs at 44.61. He has scored 9 hundreds and 5 fifties in those 28 games. Root, on the other hand, averages just under 60 at home but 43.39 in away games. The difference in home/away average is vast in his case (15.72), while in Kohli s case, it comes down to a mere 2.56. Also, Root has got fewer three-figure scores in away Tests as compared to Kohli.

We leave you with numbers and leave it to you to decide who is a better player. However, there is still a long way to go for both these young batsmen and honestly, a comparison at this stage won t be fair.

As far as Kohli and Root are concerned, they will remain unfazed by the numbers and past records and look to stamp their authority over this particular series, which begins November 9. Both will look to influence the outcome of the series with their performances. Their team s victory shall be in their mind and have paramount importance. Numbers, individual runs, comparisons will go on as long as they play.

(A self-confessed cricket freak, Chinmay Jawalekar is a senior writer with CricketCountry. When not writing or following cricket, he loves to read, eat and sleep. He can be followed here @CricfreakTweets)