Virat Kohli, Joe Root showdown for No 1 will spice up series
Regarded as two of the brightest batting talents in world cricket at the moment, Virat Kohli and Joe Root will come face to face when the high-profile series between India and England commences on Wednesday.
Connoisseurs of batting will be eagerly anticipating the showdown between the two players of class, who can put on a show when on song.
The best player in the world is a common debate in sport and this series will provide more ammunition for that. In cricket, there is heightened interest at the moment as the mantle is yet to be taken since the end of the Tendulkar and Lara era.
In terms of pure numbers, Steve Smith and Kane Williams too are in the top bracket. But Kohli and Root are discussed more because of their aesthetic appeal.
At the moment there is little to differentiate between the two in terms of numbers. They will start the series at 48 Tests each with Virat Kohli having aggregated 3554 runs in 82 innings, at an average of 45.56 with 13 hundreds. Root has piled up 4103 runs in 88 innings, averaging 53.28 with 10 hundreds.
When it comes to India versus England, Root has an edge. He started his career impressively against India in 2012 and in the return series in 2014, he again dominated the Indian attack at home.
On the other hand, Kohli has a lot to prove against England. In the game the England star made his debut, at Nagpur, and got a fifty, Kohli got a hundred, but that has remained his only bright spot against them. He had a forgetful 2014 series where he averaged 13.40.
Kohli though played down talk of his record on the eve of the series.
“I can put it simply as a phase in my career when I didn’t perform very well. I just take it as a setback in my career, and not motivate myself in a way that I have to prove people wrong or I have to do something special against a particular opposition. For me, playing cricket anywhere and against any team in the world, those things will not make any difference to me,” said the India skipper.