Test Cricket

Cricalytics: Ranking the Performance of FAB 4 in World Test Championship

The Fab 4 in Cricket, Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson, and Joe Root make for an interesting comparison in ICC World Test Championship 2019-21. 

The popularity of Test cricket in today’s era may not match that of T20 Cricket, but there’s no doubt about Test cricket being the most difficult format for batsmen. Talking about the best batsmen in this format, there’s no better than the current Fab 4 in Test Cricket, Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson, and Joe Root. 

The four have started playing near about at the same time, and are torchbearers for their respective teams in Test Cricket. Of course, you would find a supporting hand for them in their team like Pujara for Kohli, Labuschagne for Smith, etc., but when it comes to the number 1 for batsman their respective teams, it is the Fab 4. 

The ICC World Test Championship, which was introduced in 2019 to bring relevance to Test cricket, and to increase curiosity among fans has been largely received positively by fans across the world. Regarded as the World Cup for Test Cricket, the first-ever ICC WTC is almost coming to an end with only the finals to be played. 

Fab 4 in ICC World Test Championship 

With only the final left in the ICC World Test Championship, don’t you feel curious to know how the Fab 4 have performed in the tournament? Well, even though all 4 have played an unequal number of matches (yeah, you can curse the format), it does show some interesting stats after our analysis. 

So, in this article we would compare the performance of the Fab 4, viz., Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson, and Joe Root in the ICC World Test Championship 2019-21. We would compare them across 4 major categories, At Home, Away from Home, against Top-ranked Teams, and Overall. 

At Home:

Comparing the performance of Fab 4 at home, it is Kane Williamson, who has been absolutely exceptional. The Kiwi has scored 736 of his 817 WTC runs at home at a stunning average of 105. Just shows how dominant Williamson has been at home. In fact, all his 50+ scores have come at home. 

Virat Kohli has been the second-best at home with 625 runs from 12 innings at an average of 62.5. However, Kohli also has 3 ducks at home; the most among Fab 4. Kohli’s low scores also stand at 50% at home, which is again on the high side. Surprisingly, his consistency has been decent at 41.7%. Just shows it is the not-outs that has helped Kohli maintain his average. 

Meanwhile, Smith and Root have been decent at home with Smith scoring 567 runs at an average of 40.5 and Root scoring  549 runs at an average of 34.3. While Smith had a solo hundred at home, Root didn’t manage to score a single hundred at home, but does have 5 fifties to his name. 

Ranking at Home: Kane Williamson > Virat Kohli > Steve Smith > Joe Root

Away from Home: 

While Kane Williamson ruled the performance at home, Steve Smith ruled the performance away from home. The former Australian Captain played only in Ashes away from home, but that tournament could well be called the best of his career. Smith ruled Ashes 2019 scoring 774 runs at a mind-blowing average of 110.6. Barring the last innings where he scored 23, Smith scored three 50s and three 100s  in the remaining 6.

Joe Root may have been below-par at home, but his performance in Asian conditions and South Africa was superb. Overall, Root played 19 innings away from home scoring 1111 runs at an average of 58.5. Root’s low scores too looked good at just 33%. Root’s highest score of 228 too come away from in Sri Lanka. 

Meanwhile, Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson looked woefully out of form away from home. While Kohli scored 252 runs at an average of 25.2, Williamson scored just 81 runs at an average of 11.6. While Kohli’s performance is poor, Williamson’s performance is pathetic. 

Ranking Away from Home: Steve Smith > Joe Root > Virat Kohli > Kane Williamson

Top-Ranked Teams

Looking at the performance against the top-ranked teams, England, Australia, New Zealand, and India depending on the countries they played against, Steve Smith once again comes out top among the Fab 4. The Aussie scored 1301 runs from 20 innings at an average of 68.5. Smith’s consistency stood at an epic 63.2%, which is an exceptional feat. 

Joe Root played against Australia and India, and performed decently against these two countries. He managed to score a total of 693 runs from 18 innings at an average of 38.5. While Root had a lot of big scores including his highest score of 218, Root’s consistency stood at just 33.3%, which is bad. 

Virat Kohli, who played against England, New Zealand, and Australia did poorly having scored just 288 runs from 12 innings at an average of 24. He could only manage 3 fifties with the highest score in the 70s. Kane meanwhile looked even worst than Kohli. He could only manage 154 runs from 7 innings at a bizarre average of 22. His consistency stands at just 14.3%. 

Ranking vs Top-Ranked Teams: Steve Smith > Joe Root > Virat Kohli > Kane Williamson


Overall, Smith had scored 1341 runs from 22 innings at an average of 63.9. Joe Root had scored the second-highest runs in WTC with 1660 runs from 37 innings at an average of 47.4. Virat has scored 877 runs from 22 innings at an average of 43.9. Kane Williamson’s overall record is good with 817 runs from 14 innings at a good average of 58.4%.

So, that’s how the fab 4 are ranked basis their performance in World Test Championship. Looking at the cumulative average rating, Steve Smith ranks first, Joe Root has been marginally better than Kohli. Whereas Kohli has been marginally better than Williamson. 

Overall Ranking: Steve Smith > Joe Root  > Virat Kohli > Kane Williamson

Thanks for reading! Which player from Fab 4 in cricket performed the best in World Test Championship? Please email your thoughts to business@cricalytics.com.

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