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Virat Kohli: Lording at No.3, ‘cap-ton’ wonderful

Virat Kohli’s batting simply keeps zooming, and it has gone up many notches in the current One-Day International (ODI) series against South Africa.

cricket Updated: Feb 12, 2018 20:30 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Virat Kohli,India vs South Africa,South Africa vs India
India captain Virat Kohli has been the highest scorer of the ODI series against South Africa so far.(Reuters)

“Stepping out on the field and scoring centuries has become a routine for Virat Kohli.” “He’s on a different level this bloke wow.” “Yet another ton for Virat Kohli ... the hunger & consistency is remarkable ... the Greatest ever ODI player?”

The tributes from Sachin Tendulkar, David Warner and former England skipper Michael Vaughan, after Virat Kohli smashed an unbeaten 160 in the Cape Town ODI against South Africa, highlighted a key aspect in today’s cricket. If there is a benchmark for consistency, fitness, intensity and hunger for big runs in any condition, it is Virat Kohli.

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Kohli’s knock in the Cape Town heat highlighted his supreme fitness, considering that 100 of his 160 runs were not in boundaries. His performances in South Africa have cemented his reputation, having scored centuries in nine out of 10 nations he has played in.

Virat Kohli’s statistics in comparison with the best batsmen, past and present. (HT Photo)

Best Indian at No 3

Kohli, who missed out on his third century in the series, and 35th overall, after being dismissed for 75 in the Johannesburg ODI, he towers over every other Indian batsman at No 3, be it runs, average, strike rate, number of fifties and centuries. Kohli is the first Indian player after Sourav Ganguly to average 50 plus. His 27 centuries are streets ahead with Rahul Dravid’s seven the next best by an Indian batting at No 3.

The range of Kohli’s centuries is also staggering. In 2013, against Australia in Jaipur, he blasted a century off 52 balls, the fastest by an Indian in ODIs. In Cape Town, he faced 159 balls, the most he has faced in an ODI knock.

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The range of Kohli’s hundreds in terms of balls faced indicates how he bats according to the situation. Of his 34 hundreds, 23 have a strike-rate of over 100, close to 70 percent. During a chase, 14 of Kohli’s 20 hundreds have come at a strike-rate of over 100. Kohli’s X-factor is he scores most of his hundreds at better than run-a-ball, which invariably gives the team a decisive advantage.

Kohli: Captain Consistent Centurion

As skipper, Kohli has only got better as batsman. While he is third in the overall list behind Ricky Ponting (22) and AB de Villiers (13), his conversion rate in such a short span is remarkable. In 47 games, he has amassed 12 centuries, meaning he scores a ton every four matches.

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Tendulkar vs Kohli

Since his debut in 2008, Kohli has averaged 1,003 runs per year with three centuries and is on track to overhaul Sachin Tendulkar’s record numbers in ODIs. In one key aspect, Kohli has overshadowed Tendulkar. Out of Tendulkar’s 51 hundreds, 11 were scored outside the sub-continent/Asia. Kohli has already equalled the mark.

India are eyeing a series win for the first time in South Africa and it could come in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday. Considering Kohli’s hot form, it could be sealed with another captain’s special.

First Published: Feb 12, 2018 20:27 IST