The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the Test team for 2016 on Thursday and there was one big name missing from the list –Virat Kohli.
The 28-year old has been a consistent performer for India in all formats and at first glance his omission appeared shocking. However, a closer look reveals a different story.
The ICC panel considers performances in the period between September 14, 2015 and September 20, 2016 while deciding on the Test team of the year. In that period, Kohli scored just 451 runs in eight matches at an average of 45.10.
The India skipper struggled to score during the four-match home Test series against South Africa and in 12 months could manage only one century and half century.
When compared to England batsman Joe Root, who made the cut as No 4 in the Test team of the year, the choice makes sense.
Root had a brilliant year with the bat as he scored 1272 runs in 14 matches at an average of 55.30. With nine fifties and two hundreds, he was a leading light in the England batting line-up. His 254 against Pakistan in Manchester was unarguably one of the best Test innings of the year.
If we look at the current form of both the players, the story is different. Since September 2016, Kohli has shown tremendous form – first against New Zealand and then against England in the recently-concluded five-match series.
He amassed 964 runs from eight matches at an average of 80.33. With two double centuries in his last six matches, he has been a treat to watch.
On the other hand, the slow turning tracks of India and Bangladesh caused problems for Root and the 25-year old could only manage 589 runs in his last seven matches at an average of 42.07. He scored five half centuries and was able to reach the century mark only once.
Going by current form, Kohli’s supremacy over Root is obvious, and come September 2017, he will surely be a major contender for a spot in the ICC Test team of the year.