In sports, comparisons are inevitable and people always want to know who is the best in the business. In cricket, Donald Bradman set a high bar back in the day with a batting average of 99.94 in Test cricket and everybody has been playing catch-up ever since. 

A select few names since then have come close to being called the ‘King of Cricket’. Vivian Richards’ domination in Tests and ODIs earned him that nickname in the 80s, while Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar was hailed as the king for his explosive batting ability in the 2000s. 

In the contemporary world, there are some great contenders to take over this title, but Virat Kohli is widely regarded as the modern day ‘King of Cricket’, and also the best batter across all formats in the world. 

Virat Kohli - King of Cricket

Virat Kohli found it difficult to keep his place in the Indian team for a year after making his debut against Sri Lanka in 2008. However, once he scored his first century against the same team in 2009, there was no stopping him. 

He continued to take giant strides in whiteball cricket and was also a part of the Indian ICC Cricket World Cup team in 2011. After the World Cup triumph, he also made his mark in Test cricket with a breathtaking century in Adelaide in January 2012. 

By the end of that decade (2010-2019), Kohli scored 20,960 runs in 386 matches across all formats at a staggering average of 57.58. Among all batters who scored over 10,000 international runs, no other batters besides Kohli and Steve Smith average more than 50. This tally included 69 centuries and 98 half-centuries. 

Currently, Kohli is also the second highest century-maker in international cricket (74), second only to Sachin Tendulkar (100). 

In ODIs, Kohli is now the fifth highest run-scorer and also the second highest century maker, just a few short of Sachin Tendulkar. He was the first batter to complete 4,000 runs in T20Is and continues to be the leading run-scorer in that format. 

The former Indian skipper has been a run machine for the Men in Blue and continues to play at the highest level into his 15th year as an international cricketer. 

Other contenders for ‘King of Cricket’

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam is revered as the next ‘King of Cricket’. He is a close contender for this title alongside Virat Kohli having displayed similar dominance in run-scoring across all formats. In July 2022, he completed 10,000 runs in his 228th innings, four less than Kohli, who got to that landmark in 232 innings. 

Australian batter Steve Smith, who has an average above 60 in Test cricket, is one of the most remarkable cricketers of this generation. Smith, alongside Kohli, Joe Root and Kane Williamson, were considered to be the “Fab Four” of the 2010s but besides Kohli, the other batters could only excel in one or two formats.

Photo Credit: Alamy