How Kohli’s India became the world’s No. 1 Test side

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli

“When we started out as a group, we were at No. 7, and the only way was up”

That was Virat Kohli, speaking after India went 2-0 up against South Africa recently. They would go on to win the next Test and seal the series 3-0, their 11th consecutive series win at home.

If it is hard to believe India were ranked No. 7 when Kohli took over permanently in January 2015, above only West Indies, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, here’s why. The ICC rankings take into account a moving average of performances over the preceding four years, with higher weightage for more recent matches, while also taking into account the strength of the opposition.

India’s record in the four years preceding November 2014 (from December 2010), read thus: Played 38, Won 14, Lost 16, with the preceding 12 months’ results reading: lost 3-1 to England, lost 1-0 to New Zealand, lost 1-0 to South Africa.

After a 2-0 series loss in Australia in 2014-15, a slew of series victories including a 2-1 win away in Sri Lanka, who were until recently higher ranked on the charts, put them back on track. Their crowning moment came after a 3-0 thrashing of New Zealand at home in October 2016, when they pipped Misbah-ul-Haq’s Pakistan to the top spot.

Sure, they have suffered convincing defeats, particularly a 4-1 reversal in England in 2018, but they had, by then, opened up such a huge lead atop the charts that despite dropping 10 points (and England gaining 8), they still had a lead of 10 points going into the series against Australia.

Check out the “Rating points” tab on the interactive chart above to see how India’s lead has changed over the past three years.

As of now, their time as the world’s No. 1 Test side stands at 36 months and counting, comfortably beating the run by MS Dhoni’s side between 2009 and 2011. (Extracted from ESPNCricinfo)