Focus on Kohli the batter as former India captain aims to surpass Dravid, join Ganguly with massive ODI records
- When Team India takes the field in Paarl on Wednesday for the ODI series, it will be for the first time in seven years that Virat Kohli will be featuring in an Indian side only as a player and not as a captain
When Team India takes the field in Paarl on Wednesday for the ODI series, it will be for the first time in seven years that Virat Kohli will be featuring in an Indian side only as a player and not as a captain. But the focus will remain on Kohli, not just how he adjusts to the new role, but how the lessening of burden will impact his batting figures.
Besides the 71st international century that has eluded him since the November of 2019, Kohli's numbers in Test cricket shows a significant dip. He averages only 28.14 in his last 15 Tests with six half-centuries. However, during the same period, Kohli has remained equally threatening in the ODIs, scoring 649 runs in his last 15 matches at an average of 43.36 and strike rate of 92.45, which include eight fifties.
The expectation will only be higher, not that it has been any less throughout his career, when Kohli the batter walks at the crease during the three-match ODI series in South Africa starting January 19. Given that the burden of captaincy is off his shoulders now, fans would only be hoping to see the old, formidable and in-form Kohli back in action.
During the series, Kohli will be eyeing a few massive records in the format and here they are...
The great expectation
On Wednesday, it will be 788 days since Kohli last scored his international century. He has come close to the elusive three-figure mark 21 times in international cricket since November 23 of 2019, the most recent being the Cape Town Test last week, but has failed each time.
While a 44th ODI ton will only bring him closer to Sachin Tendulkar's all-time record in the format, it will also take his international tally to 71 hundreds, placing him joint-second alongside Australian great Ricky Ponting. The century will also place him joint-second alongside Sachin (5) and Quinton de Kock (5) for the most centuries in an India-South Africa tie with AB de Villiers stands atop with six century scores, and joint-top alongside the legendary batsman for the most ODI centuries scored by a visiting batter in South Africa.
Surpassing Dravid, Ganguly
With 1287 runs, Kohli stands eighth highest among batters with most runs in ODIs against South Africa and fourth among Indians. 26 runs more and Kohli can surpass Rahul Dravid (1309 runs) and Sourav Ganguly (1313 runs) to become the second-highest Indian run-getter after Sachin's tally of 2001 runs. Others on the list includes Ponting (1879 runs), Kumar Sangakkara (1789 runs), Steve Waugh (1581 runs) and S Chanderpaul (1559 runs).
887 runs of Kohli's aforementioned tally have been scored in South Africa. 171 runs more and Kohli will be able to surpass both Dravid (930 runs) and Ganguly (1048 runs) to become the third-highest visiting run-getter in the format in the Rainbow Nation after Sachin (1453 runs) and Ponting (1423 runs).
Joining Ganguly in elusive list
Kohli needs 113 runs more to become the third Indian to have scored 1000-plus runs in four or more countries. He has so far scored 4994 runs in India, 1316 runs in England and 1327 runs in Australia. He will hence surpass Dravid, MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma to stand joint-second alongside Ganguly with most 1000-plus ODI run tallies in a single country. Sachin stands atop having achieved the feat in six different countries.