Virat Kohli is currently one of the best players in world cricket. However, more than just his contribution as a batsman, Kohli has been one of the cornerstones of India's success in the last few years, especially in Test cricket.
In 2014, Kohli was handed over the Test reigns as India's captain after MS Dhoni announced his retirement. In 2017, Kohli was named the full-time India captain after he was handed over the captaincy in the limited-overs format too.
Virat Kohli couldn't win any of the ICC trophies during his tenure as white and red ball captain but his overall captaincy record is a dream for any captain. He was the originator of the aggressive form of captaincy that we now associate with the Indian team.
Read also: Rohit Sharma captaincy record in all formats
Kohli relieved of captaincy duties in ODIs and Tests
Ahead of the T20 World Cup 2021, Kohli announced his decision to relinquish his T20 captaincy after the ICC event. While India made an early exit from the tournament, it wasn't the greatest of farewells for Kohli as the T20I captain. Kohli has also been relieved of his captaincy duties from the ODIs after selectors chose Rohit Sharma to lead the team starting from the ODI series against South Africa.
Under Kohli's captaincy, India might not have witnessed great success in ICC events but his legacy as an India captain will arise from his constant push to promote Test cricket. Kohli has been a brilliant ambassador for Test cricket globally in the way he has led transformation in the Indian Test team. The Men in Blue also reached the final of the inaugural World Test Championship in 2021.
Under Kohli's captaincy, India won its maiden Test series in Australia in 2018/19 after 71 years since 1948. It was under Kohli's leadership that India was crowned as the No.1 Test team in the ICC Rankings for a continuous period of 42 months from October 2016 till early March 2020. Virat Kohli hung his boot as the test captain after Rohit Sharma was appointed the captain for all three formats in February 2022.
We conduct a statistical analysis on Virat Kohli and his captaincy record in various formats for India and the IPL.
Virat Kohli Captaincy record in Tests
Matches: 68, Won: 40, Lost: 17, Draw: 11, Wins Home: 24, Wins Away: 15
Matches: 68, Won: 40, Lost: 17, Draw: 11, Wins Home: 24, Wins Away: 15 Series: 24, Won: 18, Lost: 5, Draw: 1, Home Series Wins: 11, Away Series Wins: 7
68 – Kohli holds the record for most Test matches as captain for India. Virat Kohli played his 61st Test match as Captain in the World Test Championship Final against New Zealand. He surpassed MS Dhoni's tally of 60 Tests as India's Captain.
53.18 – Kohli has had the most success while playing in the fourth position. He has almost 6542 runs from this position while he has rarely been able to feature in the third, sixth, and seventh batting order. The Virat Kohli captaincy burden certainly do not become a factor, as the superstar was frequently coming up with very good numbers.
40– With 40 wins in Test matches, Kohli is the most successful Indian Test captain. Under Kohli's leadership, India won 58.8% of the test matches that they played which is the highest among all Indian captains. He has leapfrogged some of India's most successful captains in Test cricket with utmost ease. He's followed by MS Dhoni with 27 wins as captain.39.46 – Virat Kohli was able to do much better with the bat while playing as a captain. He has been able to average just 39.46 runs when not playing as the captain compared to 54.80 runs average when he has been the captain of the team. Kohli has also hit one double century while playing as a captain and he has failed to do the same when the captaincy has not been on his shoulders.
39.46 – Virat Kohli was able to do much better with the bat while playing as a captain. He has been able to average just 39.46 runs when not playing as the captain compared to 54.80 runs average when he has been the captain of the team. Kohli has also hit one double century while playing as a captain and he has failed to do the same when the captaincy has not been on his shoulders.
24 – Virat Kohli now has the most Test wins at home for India. India's victory in the Mumbai Test against New Zealand was Kohli's 24th Test win at home. Kohli went past MS Dhoni's tally of 21 Test wins at home as India's skipper.
20– Kohli has scored the most Test centuries for India as captain. With 20 centuries since being an Indian Test skipper, Kohli is only behind Graeme Smith (25) with the most Test hundreds as captain. In the last couple of years, Virat has failed to add to his tally of Test centuries. His last Test ton came against Bangladesh in India's first-ever Pink-Ball Test in 2019.
11- India has not lost any of the 11 series they played at home when Virat was the captain. India built a fortress at home with Virat's aggressive captaincy.
7– Kohli has scored seven double-centuries in his Test career. Coincidentally, all of his Test double tons have come during his tenure as captain. This also puts him first on the list of most double centuries for any Test captain.
1 – Kohli also holds the record for scoring the most Test runs for India as captain. In 66 Tests so far, Virat has scored 5703 runs at an average of 55.36 including a highest score of 254* against South Africa.
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Virat Kohli Captaincy record in ODIs
Matches: 95, Won: 65, Lost: 27, NR/Tied: 3
65 – Virat Kohli has led India in 65 ODI wins as captain. He's the fourth most successful ODI Indian captain after the likes of MS Dhoni, Sourav Ganguly, and M Azharuddin.
2 – Virat has the second most runs as Indian ODI skipper (5449 runs) after MS Dhoni. Dhoni registered a tally of 6641 runs ODI runs in 200 matches as captain for India.
21 – He has scored the most number of ODI centuries by an Indian captain. Kohli is only behind Ricky Ponting, who scored 22 centuries during his tenure as captain of Australia.
Just like in the test matches when Kohli was able to extract more performances from his batting game even when captaincy was on his shoulders, the superstar was able to deliver the goods in the ODI format while captaining the team. He was able to average an impressive 72.65 runs in his 95 ODI matches as the captain of the national team. He was able to pick up 5449 runs in these games. In 167 ODI games when he has not been a captain, Kohli has averaged only 49.60 runs.
Kohli was able to achieve a 68.42% win rate in ODIs as a captain. This is the highest figure of any ODI captain who has been in charge of the team for more than 20 matches. Despite this impressive record, Kohli was unable to get India to success in the 2019 World Cup. It is also remarkable that Kohli finished only behind Ricky Ponting’s record of 22 centuries in the ODI format when playing as captain.
Virat Kohli Captaincy record in T20Is
Matches: 50, Won: 30, Lost: 16, Tie/NR: 4
1– Kohli scored the most T20I runs by an Indian skipper. With 1570 T20I runs, Virat is ranked fourth among captains with the most runs in T20Is.
2– He is the second most successful T20I captain of India with 30 wins. MS Dhoni has secured the most T20I wins (42) as Indian captain.
1– Kohli also holds the record for scoring the quickest 1000 T20I runs as captain. He took a mere 30 innings to claim the milestone, which happens to be an inning quicker than South Africa's Faf du Plessis.
1– Only Indian skipper to win the T20I bilateral series in all SENA nations. Under him, India won 5-0 in New Zealand in 2020, 2-1 in Australia in 2020, 2-1 in England in 2018, and 2-1 in South Africa in 2018.
4 – With 30 T20I wins, Kohli is ranked fourth among the most T20I wins as Captain. He's only behind Asghar Afghan, MS Dhoni, and Eoin Morgan among T20I captains.
MS Dhoni may be the most successful Indian captain but he has been closely followed by Kohli during his captaincy reign. Kohli has been in charge of the T20 India team in 50 matches and this is just one short of Rohit Sharma. In these 50 matches, Kohli has been able to pick up 30 wins while losing 16 games. The win record in Virat Kohli captaincy comes in at 64.58% which puts him just behind Rohit Sharma, who has a 76.47% win record.
After 2017, the batting average which had been progressing in one big line showed signs of concern but Kohli was able to revive his form within a span of just two years. It is in the T20 cricket format where there are very few drops in performance from the superstar. The Virat Kohli captaincy record shows that he was able to hit a strike rate of 140.55 during his days as a captain of the T20 team. He was able to hit a record of 136.35 when he was not the captain.
One of the significant records in the Virat Kohli captaincy numbers would be his impressive return of runs in the T20 format when playing as the captain. He was able to hit the most number of runs – 1570 – among any Indian captain. The run is also the fourth highest of any T20 captain in the world. Even though Kohli was unsuccessful – to a certain extent – during his final days as the T20 captain, he still finished fourth in the list of most successful T20 captains.
Virat Kohli Captaincy record in IPL
Matches: 140, Won: 64, Lost: 69, NR: 7
3– Kohli led RCB in 140 IPL matches which is the second-highest for any captain in the IPL. He is only behind MS Dhoni in terms of matches played as a captain in the IPL.
1– Virat has scored the most runs in IPL history as captain.
22 – At the age of 22 years, Kohli became the youngest player to captain an IPL side. In IPL 2011, in the absence of Daniel Vettori, Kohli captained RCB for three matches to hold the record for youngest captain in IPL history.
During IPL 2021, Virat Kohli also announced his decision to relinquish the RCB captaincy duties in the IPL. However, he asserted that he'll continue to play for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for the rest of his IPL career. After nearly 8 years, Virat will don the RCB jersey, not as a captain in IPL 2022.
Virat Kohli has a decent record when it comes to IPL captaincy. He has managed a win rate of 48.16% in the Virat Kohli captaincy numbers. This is certainly not one of the best around, as the likes of MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma have been able to hit more than 55% win ratio. Similarly, Kohli has not been able to get Royal Challengers Bangalore to any IPL title so far in their history. Even with these disappointments, the Virat Kohli captaincy record makes for a decent reading nonetheless.
Virat Kohli Captaincy record across all formats in International Cricket
Matches: 213, Won: 135, Lost: 60, Draw/NR/Tie: 18
While Kohli's captaincy career has come to a close, he can now truly focus on his batting. He can be the successor to the legend Sachin Tendulkar, who himself chose to not be a captain and help the team as a batsman. Kohli can replicate his footsteps with the bat. Kohli's record as captain of India has been impeccable. Except for falling short in the ICC events, Kohli has taken Indian cricket to greater heights.
His biggest contribution to Indian cricket remains his passion to win away from home, especially in Test cricket. Kohli has often been criticized for his team selections but he has continued to be bullish about his calls. He has instilled a level of self-belief in his team and has led from the front on all parameters as a true leader. With a win percentage of 63.3% across all formats as Indian national team captain, he has left behind a legacy which cannot be topped.