Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson and Steve Smith in exciting race to be No1 in Test rankings

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Kohli, Smith and Williamson are running neck-to-neck.

The debate over who is the best Test batsman in the world has been reignited ever since Steve Smith made an epic return to the format after more than a year out of the international game.

The Australian’s twin tons under adverse circumstances in the first Ashes Test against England at Edgbaston to lead his team to a win has seen him once again enter the conversation.

When it comes to the best Test batsman of the ongoing era, it is the ‘Fab Four’ comprising of Smith, Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson and Joe Root who have dominated the discussion for several years.

“I said during the summer that Virat Kohli is the best player I have ever seen but that (Smith’s knocks) is just another level,” Australia head coach Justin Langer said after Smith’s magnificent display at Edgbaston.

There may never be a clear consensus among fans and pundits alike when it comes to picking one from the four batsmen with each of them having his own merits. We do, however, have the official yardstick of the ICC Test rankings to fall back on when it comes to making this tough decision.

Kohli is currently No1.

Kohli is currently No1.

Smith’s knocks of 144 and 142 at Birmingham have seen the right-hander break into the top-three of the rankings again despite spending more than a year out of the game due to his ball-tampering suspension.

That superlative display by the former Australia skipper has seen him collect as many as 46 rating points from just one game to overtake India’s Cheteshwar Pujara to the third spot. It has taken the Aussie’s points tally to 903 and he is now only 13 behind the No1 ranked Kohli who is perched at the top with 922 points.

Black Caps skipper Williamson is sandwiched in the second spot with 913 points despite the fewer number of Tests played by his side while his England counterpart Root is further behind in sixth-place with 741 points.

With Australia, India, England and New Zealand all in action in the Test format in the upcoming few weeks, it is going to be an interesting race to the No1 spot.

The Aussies and the English are currently locked in a fierce battle for the Ashes while India are all set to play a two-Test series in the West Indies later this month. New Zealand, meanwhile, will be in action in a two-Test series in Sri Lanka which begins next week.

Williamson is breathing down Kohli's neck.

Williamson is breathing down Kohli’s neck.

As Smith has shown with his display at Edgbaston, a huge swing in the points can take place after just one match and that means that the top positions in the rankings could be changing hands multiple times in the near future.

Virat Kohli

Rank: 1

Points: 922

Upcoming Test series

West Indies (away) – Two Tests in August

South Africa (home) – Three Tests in October

Bangladesh (home) – Two Tests in November

New Zealand (away) – Two Tests in February, 2020

Kane Williamson

Rank: 2

Points: 913

Upcoming Test series

Sri Lanka (away) – Two Tests in August

Australia (Away) – Three Tests in December

India (home) – Two Tests in February, 2020

Steve Smith

Rank: 3

Points: 903

Upcoming Test series

England (away) – Four Tests remaining in August-September

Pakistan (home) – Two Tests in November

New Zealand (home) – Three Tests in December

Bangladesh (away) – Two Tests in February, 2020

Joe Root

Rank: 6

Points: 841

Upcoming Test series

Australia (home) – Four Tests remaining in August-September

South Africa (away) – Five Tests in December-January

Sri Lanka (away) – Two Tests in March, 2020

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