Ian Chappell questions Virat Kohli's record in England; wants David Warner to be part of Big Five
What's the story?
Former Australian skipper Ian Chappell has questioned the order of batting greatness in the current era. In a column for ESPNCricinfo, the noted commentator insisted that David Warner should be mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Steven Smith, Virat Kohli, Joe Root and Kane Williamson. Pointing towards the Indian captain's faulty Test record in England, he reiterated that Warner's abysmal record on Indian soil should be overlooked in similar regard.
Chappell wrote, "Any conversation about which batsmen are currently top-rated in Test cricket begins with the Big Three; in order of batting average that's Steve Smith, Joe Root and Virat Kohli. It's often noted that New Zealand captain Kane Williamson could easily make it a quartet. Indeed, Williamson should be included as his average is second only to Smith, but David Warner ought to also be there, to extend it to a quintet.
"The main reason for Warner's exclusion is his record in India. It's not great, but then Kohli's record in the UK is far worse, and the two players' overall average is only about five percentage points apart."
The standard for modern batsmanship is widely perceived from the 'Big Four' category comprising of Smith, Kohli, Root and Williamson in no particular order. The quartet's stature in the present era stems from their ability to switch between the three formats with consummate ease.
The heart of the matter
As Chappell suggested, there is a considerable amount of scrutiny surrounding Kohli's prowess in English conditions (and against swing/seam in general). During the 2014 tour of England, he managed just 134 runs from 5 Tests at a woeful average of 13.40 without crossing the 50-mark even once in the series.
Similarly, Warner's record against the turning ball in India does not make for pretty reading. From 8 Tests on Indian soil across two tours, the attacking opener has scored a grand total of 388 runs at a miserable average of 24.25 with a highest of 71. However, he managed to redeem his record on Asian soil to a considerable extent by amassing back to back centuries on viciously turning tracks in the recently completed series in Bangladesh.
Kohli will get a chance to rectify his numbers in England when India tour the United Kingdom for a 5-Test series in the summer of 2018. On the other hand, Chappell declared that Warner could 'provide a twist in the tale' when Australia enter into Indian shores in 2021.
Considering Warner's marked improvement in the subcontinent as well as his rapid exploits on home soil, he deserves to be a part of the top echelon of present-day batsmen. Even though Chappell's argument is valid for the time being, the southpaw has to make a difference to Australia's cause in their next round of subcontinent tours in order to be regarded as a complete batsman.
Meanwhile, Kohli will also have to perform creditably during the 2018 tour of England before he can be talked about in the same breath as the game's all-time legends.