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Virat Kohli’s Test captaincy: An unmatched legacy in numbers

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Virat Kohli, on Saturday, announced that he will step down as the Indian cricket team’s Test captain, following the 1-2 Test series defeat against South Africa.

The announcement comes less than three months after Kohli relinquished his captaincy duties in the ODI and T20I formats.

The 33-year-old, one of the most successful Test captains in history, took the captaincy reins from MS Dhoni in 2014 when the team was ranked seventh. At the time of stepping down, Kohli will walk with his head held high as India retained their top spot in ICC Test rankings as of 2021.

With a multitude of record firsts as India Test captain, we take a look at some of the interesting figures from the outgoing skipper’s seven-year stint.

Virat Kohli Test captaincy record

Since assuming the Test captaincy in 2014, Virat Kohli has led India in 68 Tests, winning 40 games and losing 17. Kohli steps down with the most wins and best win percentage amongst former Indian Test captains.

Most Test wins as India captain

Player

Matches

Won

Lost

Draw 

Win %

Virat Kohli

68

40

17

11

58.82

MS Dhoni

60

27

18

15

45

Sourav Ganguly

49

21

13

15

42.85

Under Virat Kohli’s captaincy, India have won 18 of 24 Test series and suffered five defeats. Interestingly, Team India have never lost a Test series on home soil (11 wins in 11 Tests).

It was during Kohli’s tenure that Team India achieved the greatest Test success away from home, especially in 2019 as he led India to their first ever Test series win on Australian soil (2-1).

Additionally, the 33-year-old is the only Asian Test skipper to win two Boxing Day matches. Kohli achieved his first Boxing Day Test match win against Australia in 2018 before picking up his second victory in the 2021 Centurion Test against South Africa.

Furthermore, Virat Kohli is the only Indian Test captain to have registered four overseas Test victories in a calendar year. As a matter of fact, Kohli did it twice (2018 and 2021). Kohli has also secured the most away wins (16 out of 36 matches) as Indian Test captain, five more than former skipper Sourav Ganguly.

Under Kohli’s leadership, India have remained the top-ranked Test team in the world for five consecutive years (2017 to 2021), second-best to Australia’s record reign of eight years from 2002 to 2009.

Virat Kohli led India to the final of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship, but finished as runners-up to New Zealand. 

As Test captain, Kohli amassed 5864 runs in 68 innings at an average of 54.80. He has smashed 20 tons and 18 fifties. Only former South Africa cricket team captain Graeme Smith (25) has registered more hundreds as captain in Tests than Kohli.

Author: William Paul

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Featured photo: AFP / Glyn Kirk

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