"Captain of the top Test team in the world ignored."
If you had tuned into some of the news channels in the afternoon, you would have seen there was outrage over Virat Kohli being left out of the ICC Test team of the year. The team of the year had Alastair Cook captaining the side -- the man who just lost out to Kohli's side 4-0.
One of the agency news reports (PTI) of the same issue had this line.
"Despite becoming man-of-the-series with 655 runs while leading India to the 4-0 drubbing of England recently, Kohli surprisingly missed a berth in the ICC Test team of the year 2016."
First of all, Kohli's performance against England -- as Bradman-esque as it was -- did not fall under the voting period of consideration for deciding the team of the year. Only matches played between 14 September, 2015 and 20 September 2016 are taken into account for deciding the team.
And secondly, India were not the "TOP TEAM IN THE WORLD" during the voting period. That happened later at the end of the New Zealand series.
Thirdly, numbers don't lie. The two players who have made it to the team at No 3 and No. 4 are Kane Williamson and Joe Root. Steve Smith was the 12th man. These are the players Kohli would have been directly compared against.
Now here's how their numbers compare over the voting time period.
It is clear that the numbers are stacked heavily in favour of Root and Williamson. Smith has better numbers too, with 1004 runs from 11 Tests (Four 100s and five 50s) in that time period.
Root was the most important player in the England side that visited South Africa and UAE (to play Pakistan). Williamson too performed well around the world in that period, especially in England. Kohli, meanwhile, had an average performance in the home series against South Africa while doing not much other than scoring his first 200 in the four matches in West Indies.
As great as Kohli has been in 2016, the numbers back the ICC selection.
Perhaps it was not a great idea for ICC to consider the September-to-September duration to name the teams of the year, considering all teams play year-round. It's also perhaps a bit silly to announce the team of the year at the end of 2016 when the voting period ends in September.
If anything, naming Cook as the captain a few days after his team were handed a 4-0 drubbing by Kohli's team, is hilarious timing on ICC's part. Trolls, we tell you!
So, no folks, Kohli was not ignored. Far from it. But when ICC announces the team of 2017 in December next year, you can bet your hard-earned money that he will be there.
ICC Test team of the year 2016: Alastair Cook (captain), David Warner, Kane Williamson, Joe Root, Adam Voges, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Ravichandran Ashwin, Rangana Herath, Mitchell Starc, Dale Steyn, Steve Smith.
With PTI inputs