Is Kane Williamson as good as Virat Kohli across formats?

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Former England captain Michael Vaughan recently made a massive claim when he stated that New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson is as good as his Indian counterpart Virat Kohli across all formats of the game.

According to Vaughan, Williamson does not get as much credit as he deserves for his performances because of Virat Kohli’s crazy fan following, especially on social media platforms.

The ex-England cricketer opined that experts are wary of stating that “Virat Kohli is not the greatest, because you’d get an absolute pelting on social media.”

Virat Kohli, Williamson, Steve Smith and Joe Root are widely recognized as the ‘Fab Four’ of modern day international cricket by experts.

Virat Kohli and Williamson will get a chance to prove their mettle when India face New Zealand in the World Test Championship (WTC) final in Southampton from June 18.


Virat Kohli vs Kane Williamson: What the numbers say

In the wake of Vaughan’s observation on the Virat Kohli vs Williamson debate, we do some number crunching to analyze whether the former England captain’s claim holds water.


Overall record of Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson

Virat Kohli has so far featured in 91 Tests, 254 ODIs and 90 T20Is. He has scored 7490 runs in Tests at an average of 52.37 with 27 hundreds and 25 fifties.

In one-dayers, the Indian captain has amassed 12169 runs, averaging 59.07 with 43 hundreds and 62 half-centuries.

Virat Kohli is yet to register a hundred in T20Is, but has 3159 runs to his name at an impressive average of 52.65 and a strike rate of 139.04.

If we look at Williamson’s numbers, he has scored 7115 runs in 83 Tests at an average of 54.31 with 24 hundreds and 32 fifties.

In ODIs, the Kiwi skipper has 6173 runs to his name from 151 games, averaging 47.48 with 13 hundreds and 39 fifties.

As for T20Is, Williamson has managed 1805 runs from 67 matches at an average of 31.66 and a strike rate of 125.08. Like Virat Kohli, he too doesn’t have a hundred in the shortest format of the game.

While there is hardly anything to choose between Virat Kohli and Williamson in Test matches, the Indian captain undoubtedly has a superior overall record in the shorter formats of the game.


Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson’s record in winning matches

India have won 47 of the 91 Tests Virat Kohli has featured in. In these matches, he has scored 3961 runs at an average of 58.25 with 13 hundreds.

As for ODIs, he has played in 153 games that India have won and has smashed 8715 runs at an exceptional average of 76.44. Incredibly, 35 of Virat Kohli’s 43 one-day tons have come in winning causes.

Further, Virat Kohli has been part of 56 victorious T20I games. He has slammed 2151 runs in these matches at an average of 65.18.

Coming to Williamson, he averages 78.29 from 36 Tests that the Kiwis have won with him in the team. The Kiwi captain has scored 3993 in these Tests with 15 hundreds.

Williamson has been part of 78 ODI wins and has scored 3671 runs while averaging 57.35 with nine centuries. The New Zealand legend has featured in 32 winning T20Is, in which he has scored 981 runs at an average of 40.87.

Again, while Virat Kohli and Williamson are on par when it comes to Test numbers in winning causes, the Indian captain enjoys a superior record in ODIs and T20Is.

Williamson’s numbers in the shorter formats are not bad at all. However, Virat Kohli’s performance has been on a completely different scale.


Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson’s away performances

To gauge how good a player one is, it is imperative to take a look at how that particular cricketer has performed in challenging conditions away from home.

In 48 away Tests, Virat Kohli has managed to score 3760 runs at an average of 44.23 with 14 hundreds.

In 107 away ODIs, the Indian skipper has notched up 5057 runs while averaging 58.12 with 20 tons. In T20Is, Virat Kohli has played 36 matches away from home and has scored 1193 runs at an average of 45.88.

If we look at Williamson’s numbers, he averages 42.53 from 36 away Tests, having scored 2680 runs with nine centuries.

The Kiwi skipper has 2043 runs to his name from 55 away one-dayers at an average of 44.41 with five hundreds. Further, in 14 T20Is away from home, Williamson has managed 296 runs, averaging 22.76.

It’s the same story here as well, with Virat Kohli and Williamson on par in Tests, while the Indian skipper has registered better numbers in the other formats.


Virat Kohli’s Test record in SENA countries vs Kane Williamson in the sub-continent

For any player from the sub-continent, the biggest challenge is to perform in Tests in SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand, Australia) countries. And for cricketers from SENA countries, it’s vice-versa. Here’s how the numbers stack up for Virat Kohli and Williamson in this regard.

Virat Kohli averages an impressive 54.08 from 13 Tests in Australia. He has notched up 1352 runs with six tons.

In England, the Indian captain has an average of 36.35 from 10 Tests on the back of two contrasting tours. Virat Kohli has scored 727 runs in England with two centuries.

He also has done well in South Africa, with 558 runs from five Tests at an average of 55.80 with two hundreds. However, Kohli has struggled to an extent in New Zealand, with one hundred from four Tests, averaging 36.

In comparison, Williamson has played seven Tests in India and averages 35.46, having scored 461 runs with one hundred.

The Kiwi skipper has also featured in four Tests in Sri Lanka. He has managed only 187 runs at an average of 26.71 with one century.

Rather surprisingly, Williamson hasn’t quite been at his best in sub-continent conditions while Virat Kohli has fared much better overseas.

Conclusion: While Williamson is definitely on par with Virat Kohli when it comes to most parameters in Test matches, the Indian captain has a statistical edge in both ODIs and T20Is.




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