New Delhi, Dec 28: The outgoing year 2016 belonged to India's batting masterclass Virat Kohli. 'Run Machine' Kohli has been in a superlative form across all formats, hence the year belongs to him.
Kohli was on a record shattering spree all through the year and bettered his own performance every time he came out to bat.
The 28-year-old Indian Test skipper's sensational innings put world cricket in awe.
Pakistan's star batsman Azhar Ali is second best batsman, in terms of average, to impress with his batting prowess.
Here are the top 5 Test batsmen in the year 2016:
1. Virat Kohli
Kohli plundered 1,215 runs in 12 Tests and went on slamming three triple centuries, including 4 centuries by the end of 2016. His Test average is a whopping 75.93 in 2016.
Just to put things in perspective, Kohli had never scored double ton before 2016 and his Test average was below 50 before India's long Test season began. At the end of 2016, Kohli is first and only batsman in world cricket who averages 50-plus in all three formats of the game.
Before start of England series Kohli averaged a paltry 13.40, which after the 5-Test series stands at 44.40.
Team India have registered five back-to-back Test series wins under his leadership. India have played 18 Tests without a defeat under Virat Kohli's leadership, a record that no Indian team has reached in 84 years of Test history.
The 28-year-old led from the front as India defeated New Zeland 3-0 and England 4-0 in the last two Test series.
Thus, even if the likes of Roots, Cooks and Bairstows scored more runs than him (as they played 5 more Tests than Kohli) in 2016, Kohli was a class apart from these players.
It seemed as if Kohli was playing on a different pitch altogether. On tracks where wickets were perishing like castle of cards Kohli stood tall, taking the blows on his body, meddling the balls with his bat and frustrating bowlers.
His batting average of 75.93, speaks volumes about his temperament and that Kohli is the undisputed champion of 2016.
2. Azhar Ali
This top order batsman from Pakistan deserves to be among five best Test batsmen of the year. The 31-year-old had a remarkable career and impressed every cricket enthusiast with his gritty and patient knocks.
Azhar Ali has amassed 1155 runs in 11 Test matches at an average of 64.16. In terms of average, Ali is only behind Virat Kohli (75) in the year 2016. He has slammed 3 centuries, highest being 302*, and 4 half centuries.
The right-handed batsman slammed a brilliant double hundred against Australia in the Melbourne Test.
Ali has now became the fifth Pakistan batsman to go past 1,000 Test runs in a calendar year.
3. Joe Root
With 1477 in 17 Test matches, this right-handed England batsman ended 2016 as the highest run-getter of the year.
Root averaged 49.23 in 2016, with 254 against Pakistan being his highest. The 25-year-old blasted 3 Test tons and 10 half centuries (most by any batsman in 2016) in the year.
Like Kohli, he too is hailed as one of the modern-day masterclass and the way he batted this year only cements his authority.
Had Root's performance been slightly better in India, the Yorkshire batsman could have completed 1500-plus runs in the calendar year.
4. Jonny Bairstow
The right-handed wicketkeeper batsman from England was the second highest run-getter after compatriot Joe Root.
Bairstow accumulated 1470 runs out of 17 Tests and averaged 58.80 in the outgoing year.
Just like Root, Bairstow too slammed 3 Test centuries and hit 8 fifties i.e. two less than former, which is still the second best in the year.
Bairstow's performance deserved much attention due to the fact that he scored these many runs after coming in to bat lower down the order. Most of the runs the 27-year-old scored, came batting at number 5, 6 or 7.
5. Alastair Cook
He may have had a disappointing end to 2016 after 4-0 loss against India in the 5-Test series, but the outgoing year has been a year of run feasts for Alastair Cook, who broke several records.
Cook became the most capped Test player for England and surpassed Sachin Tendulkar's record by becoming youngest player to complete 10000 Test runs.
During Test series against India, the left-handed batsman also became highest run scorer against hosts.
Cook has played 17 Tests in 2016 and aggregated 1270 runs at an average of 42.33 (career average 46.45). Cook slammed two Test centuries (105 and 130) in the year.
Cook the batsman was lauded for his performances, but it was his captaincy which is under sharp scrutiny. The veteran England skipper is facing criticism from all corners following humiliating defeat against India.
Voices are getting louder that Cook must step down as England's skipper but continue serving the nation as a cricketer for there is still a lot of cricket left in the 32-year-old.