Statistician’s Journal: Analysing The next generation leaders – Kohli, Root, Smith, Williamson


They are all top-order batsmen of reputation. They are all aged between 25 and 27 years. They are all cricketers whom the fans and lovers of the sport will be looking forward to in the next five years or so. In fact, they are all in the race for leading their respective team across all the formats in the coming future.

So here comes an analysis on these four young men from around the globe – Virat Kohli (India), Joe Root (England), Steven Smith (Australia) and Kane Williamson (New Zealand).

First we give you a statistical insight of how they have fared as a batsman in different formats. But before we begin, it is important to say that all these batsmen are still young in their careers for an accurate statistical analysis. The following bullets include our criteria and procedure of analysis:

  • Any score is a ratio of one’s parameter and a standard parameter which is calculated following ’average of the averages’ principle.
  • Final score is the summation of the Test, ODI and T20I scores.
Test Avg Test Score Avg home Avg away Avg 4th inns
V. Kohli 44.02 0.871 46.04 43 60.82
J.Root 54.9 1.086 58.32 50.5 44.7
S.Smith 54.61 1.08 55.54 51.11 28
K. Williamson 49.93 0.988 61.04 44.7 74.5

At first, we begin with the Tests where we see Smith and Root having the best average of 54. Williamson has the best average playing in home, whereas Smith has the same for away games. Both are closely followed by Root proving his batting prowess in different conditions. In case of a fourth-innings analysis, Smith’s average plummets to 28, where as those of Kohli (61) and Williamson (74) shine brightly. Kohli in fact, averages mere 26 in each first and third innings. Williamson too plays better on second and fourth innings. Smith averages a giant 84 in first innings, whereas Root has the least fluctuations across various innings which is a testimony to his batting versatility.

Moving on to the ODIs, Kohli is the most experienced of the lot with 158 innings, with the others having a cumulative 189 innings among them. Hence it’s no surprise that Kohli is the leading player in the format with the best average, strike-rate and average while chasing. Williamson comes next with an average of 48 and even betters Kohli’s average away from home. Smith has a poor 27 runs per innings away from home.

ODI Avg ODI S.R. Avg + S.R. ODI Score Avg home Avg away Avg chasing
V. Kohli 50.6 89.5 140.1 1.048 54.69 48.04 61.34
J.Root 41.9 83.46 125.36 0.937 37.76 44.63 38.38
S.Smith 39.22 86.95 126.17 0.944 55.32 27 44.25
K. Williamson 48.02 84.19 132.21 0.989 45.13 50.33 42.93

Finally in T20Is, Kohli once again leads the pack with an average of 44 and a strike-rate almost touching 133. Root comes second on both the counts, but he has just 10 innings to his credit which might not be enough to come to that justification. Smith once again averages miserably with 20.

T20I Avg T20I S.R. Avg + S.R. T20I Score
V. Kohli 44.17 132.63 176.8 1.079
J.Root 37.87 132.31 170.18 1.039
S.Smith 19.84 122.27 142.11 0.868
K. Williamson 29.2 128.07 157.27 0.96

Drawing an overall conclusion, the final scores hardly differentiates one from the other. But it seems Kohli fares better in the shorter formats and Smith is still to have his best stint in the same. Root, the youngest of the lot, has got a promising start in all the formats. His highest final score however could be misleading given that he has a career way short in contrast to Kohli. Williamson seems to be the man for all seasons with decent figures across all formats and in all conditions.

Coming to the point of captaincy, all but the young Root has been currently leading his side in atleast a format. Smith has completely taken over the reins of Australian cricket in all the formats, whereas Kohli and Williamson are in the hot seat for Tests and ODIs plus T20Is respectively.

Test Score ODI Score T20I Score Combined Score
V. Kohli 0.871 1.048 1.079 2.998
J.Root 1.086 0.937 1.039 3.062
S.Smith 1.08 0.944 0.868 2.892
K. Williamson 0.988 0.989 0.96 2.937

While Williamson has an even success rate, Kohli has won back-to-back series in Tests over Sri Lanka and South Africa. Smith is still to lose a Test in his third series as captain. Kohli has a 14-3 win-loss record as an acting captain in ODIs in absence of M S Dhoni. With McCullum retiring in February, Williamson might take over the proceedings in Tests as well with Kohli too looking good to succeed Dhoni in the shorter formats any time soon. Root too looks a potential captain material for future. And in future, it will be a great spectacle when we will see all these four young guns turning into matured captains leading their respective national sides from the front.