Steve Smith vs Virat Kohli: Stats Comparison
Cricket has been in existence for more than 150 years and has witnessed numerous batting stalwarts over the years. Batsmen like Sir Don Bradman, Sir Gary Sobers, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting created batting records and accumulated such a vast amount of runs that their records seemed unsurpassable. However, with the rise of modern-day cricket, we’ve had the privilege of witnessing two unique talents that have taken batsmanship to another level. Steven Smith from Australia, with his unorthodox technique, and Virat Kohli from India, with a more textbook-like approach, have amassed runs against quality bowling oppositions with ease. In recent years, both of these batsmen have scored centuries at an unprecedented rate, and these guys just never seem to get out!
Maybe we’ll be able to distinguish who the better batsman is if we run through a statistical comparison of both these batting geniuses. So without further ado, let’s get to it.
Comparing these two batsmen is an arduous task given the stark differences in techniques they both possess. While Kohli is pleasing to the eye and has a more orthodox technique, Smith has developed his unorthodox technique that is just as effective for scoring runs. Over the past decade, both these batsmen have consistently amassed staggering figures, which is why, if we are to pick one batsman over the other, we will have to dig deeper and go through the stats, including the runs they’ve amassed against particular oppositions, their batting averages in home and away conditions and so forth.
Debuts In International Cricket
Steven Smith made his international debut back in 2010 against Pakistan in Melbourne in a T20 international, where he was included in the Australian set-up as a specialist leg-spinner. Since then, he has grown from strength to strength and has cemented his role as a specialist number three batsman in the Australian team.
On the other hand, Virat Kohli took the international world by storm as he led India U-19 to win the world cup on the back of some stellar batting performances. This earned him his debut with the Indian team on August 18, 2008, in a one-day match against Sri Lanka in Dambulla. It didn’t take long for Kohli to make a mark on the international level, as within a few months from his debut, he scored his first international century at Eden Gardens against Sri Lanka.
Test cricket is undoubtedly the most demanding format of cricket that continuously tests the ability of players to perform at the highest level for five days. Thus, most cricketing pundits consider the stats of Test cricket an accurate indicator of an individual’s cricketing talent and ability.
What are the stats of Kohli and Smith, the two batting stalwarts, in Test cricket? Since his debut in 2010, Steven Smith has played 77 Test matches and has scored a cumulative of 7540 runs at a staggering average of 60.8 in 139 innings. During this period, Smith has scored 27 centuries, and his consistency in this format is such that his average falls second only behind Sir Don Bradman (99.4). As far as his performances in a bilateral series are concerned, in the 2019 Ashes, Smith scored a whopping total of 774 runs in 4 Tests (7 innings) at an average of 110.57, including a double hundred, two more hundreds and three fifties. This in itself is a record that will be hard to emulate.
Since his debut back in 2011 in the Test format, Virat Kohli has played 96 Test matches for India accumulating 7765 runs at an average of 51.1 runs per innings. Additionally, Kohli has scored 27 Test centuries in his 96 games.
Purely based on the numbers accumulated in Test cricket, it’s Steve Smith who’s been the more proficient batsman in terms of a higher batting average and scoring 27 Test centuries in fewer innings compared to Virat Kohli.
Overseas runs are key performance indicators for a player in Test cricket, as combating the opposition in favourable conditions is always a monumental task. Coincidently both of the batting stalwarts have scored 27 centuries in their Test careers so far. Virat Kohli has made 12 of his 27 centuries outside the subcontinent, while Smith has scored 13 Test centuries outside Australia.
One Day Internationals
Both players have been a part of their ODI national sides for more than ten years. However, Virat Kohli has played more ODI matches than Steve Smith during this period. The Aussie has played 128 ODIs to date, in which he has made 4378 runs at an average of 43.3 runs per innings, scoring 11 centuries and 25 half-centuries, a stat that is overshadowed by his herculean records in Test cricket.
On the other hand, in his 254 one-days, Kohli has scored an aggregate of 12169 runs at an average of 59.1 runs per innings, scoring 43 ODI centuries in the process. Based on such incredible numbers in the ODI format, Virat Kohli has remained at the top of ICC ODI batsman rankings for more than 1200 days.
With the likes of the IPL and the Big Bash League, the modern generation is more inclined towards the T20 format. The shortest format is known for big scores and batters trying to slog every ball out of the park. Kohli and Smith have adapted their techniques to the shortest form of the game and have amassed some incredible stats in T20 internationals.
Steve Smith has scored less than 800 runs in the 45 T20 international matches at a meagre average of 27.4, which he has played for his side. With only four fifties during this period, Smith has shown a below-average performance as far as T20I is concerned.
In contrast, Virat Kohli’s stats are much more staggering. With an average of 52.65, Kohli has scored the highest number of runs by any batsman in T20I history, 3159 in only 90 matches.
Runs in ICC Knockouts
Every international team looks to win ICC tournaments, and for that to happen, it’s the marquee batsman from each team that must perform when their team requires it the most, that is, during the knockout stages of these tournaments. During his career, Virat has played 13 ICC knockout matches until now, in which he has scored 529 runs, with 96 not out being his highest score.
However, in 50-over world cup knockout matches, Steve Smith has performed better than Virat Kohli scoring five 50-plus scores that include a hundred against India in the 2011 World Cup.
The IPL is the biggest T20 league in the world, and both Steven Smith and Virat Kohli have been a part of this tournament for multiple seasons. In 199 IPL matches, Virat has scored more than 6000 runs at an average of 37.98 and has accumulated five centuries in the process.
Steve Smith, on the other hand, has scored 2475 runs in his 101 IPL matches at an average of 37.44 runs per innings.
Clearly, Virat Kohli wins this bout.
While Steve Smith has been dominant in the longest format of the game, Virat Kohli has stacked up the numbers in both ODI and T20 cricket. This is all based on the numbers that we’ve just presented you with.
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