Where does Virat Kohli rank amongst Captains?

Virat Kohli is well known around the world and has been praised not just by his fellow cricketers, but by fans across the globe. The day he was made the new captain of the Test side, many believed that he can reach greater heights. And he did. The modern-day legend may have stepped aside from leadership, but not before achieving amazing records.

Kohli, who has been the number one batter across all formats, has achieved some of the records which were not achieved by other Asian captains. In this regard, he has already been labeled by fans as Asia’s greatest leader. 

Virat has also led India in four ICC events; one each in the Champions Trophy, Cricket World Cup, World Test Championship, and T20 World Cup. However, unlike his predecessor MS Dhoni, he could not lead India to the world title.    

We will look at every format captaincy record separately. 

Test Cricket – Asia’s Greatest Captain?

Virat Kohli Test

Recently stepped down from that role, many cricket analysts wrote on how Virat Kohli has been easily one of the most successful skippers of all time. 

For India, he is already their most successful Test captain of all time. He had led his side to 68 Test matches and won 40 of them, 13 more than MS Dhoni. And if we compare with international captains, he is fourth on the list behind Graeme Smith, Ricky Ponting, and Steve Waugh.

Home and Away

At home, Virat Kohli’s team was unbeaten in the series. Under him, India has played 11 Test series. In terms of matches, they have lost only two of them. 

At away, his team was brilliant. In 36 matches, they have won 16 away games. He took over Sourav Ganguly’s record of 11 away wins. 

Dominating SENA

Asian teams are well challenged when they visit SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand, and Australia) countries. There hasn’t been much success for the Asian skippers when it comes to SENA wins. However, Virat Kohli has made this record his own.  

Virat had led India in 24 SENA matches, in which India won seven of them. This is already a record for Kohli as he won three more than the next best; Pakistan’s Wasim Akram and Javed Miandad.

Breaching Australia

Perhaps the greatest achievement of Virat, as stated by the skipper himself, is when they won a Test series in Australia for the very first time. India toured Australia in 2018–’19 and defeated the host side 2-1. They also became the first Asian team to achieve such achievement. 

Kohli’s first series as the leader was in Australia, too. MS Dhoni announced his Test retirement midway in the series and handed the leadership to the young batter. India lost the series but that was the only series India lost to Australia. The two sides played each other in the Test series three times, twice under Kohli and once under Ajinkya Rahane, and won all three. 

As a player

There is a phase that captaincy can lead the best batter to his downfall. That wasn’t the case with the former Indian Commander.

Virat Kohli has scored 5864 runs and at an average of 54.80 as captain. He has made 18 half-centuries and 20 centuries. As for the record of most centuries by a skipper, only Graeme Smith has scored more. In the countries in which he has played at least two Tests, he has scored a century – apart from New Zealand.

Virat Kohli has scored seven double hundreds as under the captainship. Once again, this is also the record in Tests.

Captain Kohli in White-ball Cricket

One Day Internationals 

The batting maestro led his team in 95 ODI matches, in which they won 65. He sits on fifth as the best win% in ODIs, behind Clive Lloyd, Faf du Plessis, Ricky Ponting, and Hansie Cronje. 

The Men in Blue has won 15 out of 19 ODI bilateral series, which also includes victories in Australia, South Africa, and West Indies. 


As a batter, he has scored 5449 runs at an average of 72 with 21 hundred. Those 21 hundreds are the most by Indian skipper and second-most overall, just behind Ricky Ponting’s 22. The average of 72.65 is also the best by a leader in ODI history. 

It will be disappointing for him not to lead India in his home country in the 2023 Cricket World Cup. 

Also Read: ODI World Cup Super League – How does it work?

T20 Internationals 

Again, Virat’s bigger achievement came overseas. He became the only Asian skipper to win the T20I bilateral series in all SENA countries. This includes 2-1 in South Africa in 2018, 2-1 in England in 2018, 2-1 in Australia, and 5-0 in New Zealand in 2020.

Among the wins as T20I skipper,Kohli is ranked fourth with 30 wins. He is listed behind Asghar Afghan, MS Dhoni, and Eoin Morgan. 

When it comes to batting, he has scored the most runs by an Indian leader with almost 1600 runs. Overall, he is ranked fourth on the list. Virat also holds the quickest 1000 T20I runs record as a skipper, taking 30 innings. 

No titles in ICC Events as Captain 

All Format Captain

Kohli has led Indian Cricket Team across four different ICC events. However, he could not lead them to victory in any of them. His closest record has been Runners-Up in two events; the 2017 Champions Trophy and 2021 World Test Champion. Let’s review each tournament briefly. 

2017 Champions Trophy

Virat’s first assignment as leader was the Champions Trophy. The team topped the Group Stage after winning over Pakistan and South Africa, winning their Semi-Final match against Bangladesh before meeting Pakistan again in the final. 

The Indian skipper won the toss and bowled first in the final, only to be asked to chase a massive target of 339. The top-order failed to get going, including Virat himself, as the Men in Blue were blown away by 180 runs. It was the heaviest defeat in terms of runs in an ICC final. 

2019 Cricket World Cup

Once again, the Men in Blue top the Group Stage and easily qualified for the Semi-Finals. They won seven out of nine matches, losing only to England and the New Zealand game was washed out. 

They met the Kiwis in the Semi-Final and did well to restrict them to a below-par 240. Unfortunately for IND, New Zealand bowlers blew the top order with skipper Kohli once again failing to get going. 

2019-2021 World Test Championship

IND qualified for the WTC final after they defeated England 3-1 in the Test series and as a result, met New Zealand in the final at Southampton. 

IND batted first and scored 217 with Kohli scoring 44. In reply, New Zealand gained a lead of 32 after posting 249. In the third innings, IND was bowled out for cheaply 170, setting the Kiwis the target of 139 runs. New Zealand chased it down with ease and won their first ICC title since the 2000 Knockout Trophy (Champions Trophy).

2021 T20 World Cup

The lowest point, perhaps, was when Virat Kohli became the first Indian cricket leader to lose to Pakistan in the World Cup match. From the first game onwards, nothing really went India’s way. The first two losses to Pakistan and, once again, New Zealand sealed the faith for IND’s next round qualification. 

Captain Kohli – Where does he rank?

It is safe to say that with 135 wins with a win percentage of 63.38, he is easily one of the best. If not amongst all captains, he has been an excellent leader as an Asian player. His enthusiasm, courageous style of leading was what have revolved his team India and led them to some memorable victories. 

Also Read: Was Virat Kohli forced by BCCI to step down from Captaincy?

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