ICC Test rankings: Indomitable Steve Smith breathing down Virat Kohli’s neck after superlative Ashes show
“Great men are not born great, they grow great.” Mario Puzo’s famous lines in the cult classic, The Godfather, establishes the fact that greatness is a by-product of hard work. It is the same on a cricket field. While some men are born genius, that gift of spotting the ball early or having that natural swing away from the batsmen, for others it is a test of their desire, hunger and sometimes obsession of becoming the lord of the jungle.
While batting in the last generation was all about that gift we spoke about, names like Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar resonating in your ears I guess, this generation is about grit. It is about having nerves of steel and countering your worst fears to become the best of what you can become. Two men who symbolise this idee fixe these days are Indian captain Virat Kohli and former Australia skipper Steve Smith.
Ever since making his comeback to international cricket, Smith has been on an overdrive to make up for lost time. At times he reminds us of a young Michael Schumacher falling behind due to a poorly timed pit stop. That zeal to get back to the top of the pile at any cost is what stood out in the German. Smith looks like a close enough clone.
Smith is a modern day giant in Test cricket and his performances in the ongoing Ashes series in England defines the person he is. Insatiable and unaffected are adjectives that come to mind when you look at Smith, bouncing back from body blows to take Australia to safety in both the Tests so far. The result is another jump in the ICC Test rankings.
While Smith was figuring out how to get back to international cricket during his ban, another man made good use of the void and jumped up to the top of the pile. Virat Kohli conquered his demons in England to produce a masterclass in conditions that had become his scourge. He followed that up with another tour de force of Australia and took the top spot in the Test rankings. But with the original ‘King’ of Test cricket looking to take his throne back, Kohli will have his task cut out in the two-match series against the Windies.
While Kohli prepares to make the most of his opportunity against, let’s say not a top quality attack, in the Caribbean, Smith is making his way up the charts and is now just nine points behind Kohli. Smith has overtaken New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson and is now breathing down Kohli’s neck.
It will be a fascinating duel between these two epic performers and we are all ready to witness the battle royale over the next few years. As Ravi Shastri would say in his days being a commentator, “In the end cricket was the real winner.”
Here is a list of the top 5 batsmen in Test cricket according to the recently released ICC rankings.
1. Virat Kohli 922 pts
2. Steve Smith 913 pts
3. K Williamson 887 pts
4. C PujaraIndia 881 pts
5. Henry Nicholls 770 pts