India v England – Why Virat Kohli is making Joe Root his No 1 target in Chennai

India captain Virat Kohli has Joe Root in his sights on the occasion of the Englishman’s 100th Test, pinpointing his opposite number as the home side’s No 1 target in the series, which got underway in the early hours of this morning.

FAMILIAR FACES: England's captain Joe Root shakes hands with India's captain Virat Kohli during the first Test match at Edgbaston back in August 2018. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA

Kohli was part of the India team when Root made his debut appearance in Nagpur nine years ago and the pair have been bound together for most of the time since.

As well as emerging as their respective country’s leading batsmen and graduating to captaincy duties, for several years they have been bundled alongside Steve Smith and Kane Williamson in the sport’s so-called ‘big four’.

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In all they have gone head to head on 16 occasions in the Test arena, bringing the very best out of each other with Root averaging 56.84 with four centuries and Kohli averaging 55 with five tons.

FOCUSSED: India captain Virat Kohli. Picture: Nick Potts/PA

Kohli offered Root a heartfelt tribute on the eve of the first Test in Chennai but also a warning that he had been ear-marked for special attention.

“A big congratulations to Joe, playing 100 Tests is no small achievement and be can be very proud of this journey,” said Kohli.

“I have good memories of watching Joe come on to the international scene and he probably got off to a head start compared to the other three in that group of four. He’s someone who has really become that face of England’s batting over the years.

“The talk of ‘big four’ is all created by the media, but as an international cricketer you understand impact players when you see them and Joe has been one of them for a while now.

“As opposition you always try and disrupt the opposition batting plans and, when we play England, Joe is always that vital wicket that we look to get early on in the innings. That is a compliment to his game.”

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