Exclusive: Virat Kohli vs Kane Williamson Unique Comparison in Tests

The legends of the game throw some interesting stats as we do a Virat Kohli vs Kane Williamson comparison in Tests.

The recently concluded home series for New Zealand vs Pakistan has seen two historic events happening for the first time. Not only did New Zealand become the number 1 ranked team, but the series also saw, Kane Williamson leapfrogging Virat Kohli and Steve Smith to gain the number 1 position.   

New Zealand’s MVP in all-formats, Kane Williamson has been a star performer with the bat in the recent times in Test Cricket. With his recent rise to historic number 1 position, the comparisons have already started to afloat with the current modern-era Test greats, Virat Kohli and Steve Smith. 

There is absolutely no question about Kane Williamson, the person. He is one of the most humble and one of the most loved players acoss the world. His always smiling face and the ice-cool attitude has earned accolades from different sections of the society. But, has he given an all-round performance in all scenarios as his ranking says?

His counterpart, Virat Kohli is also Team India’s MVP in all three formats; especially Test Cricket. So, how does Williamson’s performance look if we compare those with Virat Kohli under different unique scenarios? Well, that’s what we would try to achieve in this article. So, without wasting much of your time, let’s look at Virat Kohli vs Kane Williamson in Tests under different scenarios. 

General info:

Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson are regarded as the legends of the current era. They are born in a similar time period, and also started playing Test cricket in a similar time period. While Kohli was born in 1988, and he started playing Test Cricket from 2011, Williamson was born in 1990, and he started playing Test Cricket in 2010. 

In terms of matches, Virat Kohli has played a total of 87 matches and 147 innings as of Jan 7, 2021. Whereas, Kane Williamson has played a total of 82 Tests and 144 innings as of Jan 7, 2021. Both have scored a similar number of runs, and their average is also similar. But, it’s the minute details that we don’t want to miss out when we drill down the overall stats.

At Home:

At home, Virat Kohli has managed to score a total of 3558 runs from 60 innings at a fabulous average of 68.4. His highest score of 254* against has come against South Africa in South Africa’s tour of India in 2019. At home, Virat 13 centuries to his name which is 1 less than his 14 away centuries. Virat’s consistency stands at 51.7% whereas his low-scores stands at 36.2%.

Coming to Williamson, his performance at home is equally better with 3662 runs from 66 innings at an average of 64.2. His best of 251 too came at home against West Indies in Dec, 2020. Similar to Virat, he has 13 centuries at home, but that’s 2 more than his away centuries. Talking about consistency, Williamson has that at 59.4, and his low-scores stands at 33.3; both better than Virat Kohli. 

While Virat Kohli has a better average and a better highest score against a quality opponent, Kane Williamson edges him in terms of consistency and low-scores percentage. 

In SEA countries:

A player’s true performance comes against quality pitches and quality opponents, and what better than judging Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson on neutral venues of SEA (South Africa, England, and Australia) pitches?

Virat Kohli has played a total of 55 innings in SEA countries, and has scored a total of 2637 runs at an average of 47.9, which is good. He has been good in Australia and South Africa averaging over 54, and somewhat decent in England averaging 36. Overall, in SEA, his consistency stands at 45.5 and low-scores stands at 36.4%. 

The current World number 1, Kane Williamson has a poor record in SEA countries. He has a total of 931 runs from 29 innings at an average of 34.5; almost 19 less than his current Test average. He has only six 50+ scores, his consistency is horrible at 25%, and his low-scores stands at 64.2% – shows he has fallen prey early on quite a good number of times. 

Looking at the performance, Kohli takes this round hands down with better average, consistency and low-scores.

Virat Kohli vs Kane Williamson comparison in Tests in SEA countries
Virat Kohli vs Kane Williamson comparison in Tests in SEA countries

Against Top-ranked Teams:

While performance in SEA countries is important, performance against top-ranked teams is equally important. So, for Kohli, performance is considered against South Africa, England, New Zealand, and Australia. While for Kane Williamson, India, South Africa, England, and Australia are considered.

If we see the stats, Virat Kohli has been equally good against all 4 teams averaging close to 50 against all of them. Overall, he has 5100 runs from 108 innings at an average of 51, a consistency of 43.4% and low-scores of 42.5%, which is slightly on the higher side. Interesting to note that 18 of his 27 hundreds have come against quality teams.

For Kane Williamson, stats don’t look as good as they look for Kohli. His best performance has come against South Africa, where he has an average of 47.5. However, against Australia, England, and India, this stands at 41.1, 43.7, and 36.4 respectively. Overall, Williamson has a total of 2835 runs from 73 innings at an average of 41.7, a consistency of 34.7% and low-scores of 51.4%.

Comparing the stats against top-ranked teams, Kohli has been a consistent performer against all the teams, whereas Williamson has been good only against South Africa, but below-par against Australia, England, and India. 

Virat Kohli vs Kane Williamson comparison in Tests vs Top ranked teams
Virat Kohli vs Kane Williamson comparison in Tests vs Top-ranked teams

Against Low-ranked Teams:

The performance against low-ranked teams like Pakistan, Sri Lanka West Indies, Bangladesh, and Zimbabwe may not matter much, but it helps us understand how these two legends have performed against these teams, and also what percentage of the overall record is contributed by performance against low-ranked teams. 

Talking about Virat Kohli, Kohli has played a total of 39 innings against low-ranked teams; that’s 26.5% of his overall innings. In these 39 innings, Kolhi has scored a total of 2218 runs at a stunning average of 59.9 with a consistency of 48.7% and a low-scores of 41%, which is surprisingly on the higher side. 

Kane, meanwhile, has played a total of 71 innings against low-ranked teams; that’s 49.3% of his overall innings. In that, Kane’s performance is fabulous with a total of 4280 runs at a mind-boggling average of 67.9, a consistency of 60.6%, and a low-scores of just 28.2%. 

If you compare, while Kohli’s performance is quite good against these low-ranked teams, Kane Williamson’s performance is a step ahead with a better average, consistency and low-scores. 

Virat Kohli vs Kane Williamson comparison in Tests vs bottom ranked teams
Virat Kohli vs Kane Williamson comparison in Tests vs low-ranked teams

Last 3 Years:

Talking about performance in the last 3 years, both, Kane Williamson and Virat Kohli have done a fabulous job. Kohli has a total of 2050 runs from 41 innings at an average of 52.6, his consistency stands at 48.8%, and his low-scores stand at 39%. His record at home is quite exceptional with 637 runs at an average of 106, but away it is slightly below-par with 1413 runs at an average of 42.8. 

Kane, on the other hand, has scored a total of 1901 runs from 31 innings at an average of 67.9. His consistency is also good at 48.4% and low-scores stands at 32.3%. However, interesting to note that during the same period, Kane’s away performance has been below-par with a total of 467 runs at an average of 38.9.  

Virat Kohli vs Kane Williamson comparison in Tests in last 3 years
Virat Kohli vs Kane Williamson comparison in Tests in the last 3 years

Conclusion:

Concluding the analysis, while Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson may have a similar performance overall in Tests, their comparison is hidden in the details. They are very much similar at home with equally good performances. Their last three years performance is also very similar, and quite good. However, Virat Kohli edges Williamson with a superb performance in SEA countries, and against top-ranked teams, whereas Williamson has a better performance against low-ranked teams.

I would leave the decision of who has been a better player overall to your sound judgement.  

Thanks for reading! What’s your take on Virat Kohli vs Kane Williamson comparison? Please, email me your comments on business@cricalytics.com. 


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