Virat Kohli will face arguably his biggest challenge as captain of the Indian cricket team so far, when he will lead the side out during the crucial tour of South Africa in January 2018. While the team’s form has been excellent at home, the true gauge of how far the group of players have come will be in the series against the Proteas.
Kohli himself has a sound technique, and can play on any surface against any bowling attack as he has shown on numerous occasions in the past. He could lay claim to a unique and rare record if his good form continues into the South Africa tour – that of being the No. 1 ranked batsman across all three formats at the same time. The only two batsmen to have achieved this feat before are former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting, and former Australian opening batsman Matthew Hayden. Ponting held this record in December-January from 2005-2006.
Kohli already sits at the top of the ODI and T20I batting rankings, and has moved up to second spot in the Test batting rankings after he scored his career-best total against Sri Lanka in the recently concluded Test series. Current Australian captain Steve Smith occupies the first position at 938 points, while Kohli sits on 893 points. If he overtakes Smith, Kohli will become the first Indian batsman to be at the top of the pile in all formats simultaneously.
For the time being, the Indian skipper is enjoying a well earned break from international cricket, resting his body during India’s ODI series against Sri Lanka. He was candid about the need for rest, and said, “Last time I took rest, it was difficult to handle. But my body is asking for it right now. The workload has been massive, I have been playing non-stop for the last 48 months, I need rest. My body has taken a toll in the last couple of years. Right now is the perfect time to rest before the tour of South Africa.”