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Stat Attack: Virat Kohli's Brilliance in Indian Wins Points Towards Symbiotic Relation With Team

Written By: Bansal Shah


Last Updated: March 23, 2023, 15:55 IST

New Delhi, India

Virat Kohli bats during an India practice session. (AFP)

Virat Kohli bats during an India practice session. (AFP)

Virat Kohli's prominence in wins for India can be seen from his 20 'Player of the Series' awards across formats. This puts him alongside Sachin Tendulkar on the list of players with the most such awards

Mitchell Starc was generating prodigious swing and Steve Smith took a blinder of a catch as two of India’s key batsmen Shubman Gill and Suryakumar Yadav were dismissed for ducks.

The clouds had dispersed in Visakhapatnam but India were facing an unexpected storm in the second ODI of the series against Australia.

India’s hopes, however, were alive till Virat Kohli was there at the crease. Kohli tried to hold one end up, while also playing some sumptuous drives, even as the other Indian batters were sent packing. Kohli could not carry on for too long, but still, emerged as the highest scorer in an innings for India. He was doing it for the 71st time. Only Sachin Tendulkar has been the top scorer in an innings more times (129) for India.

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India’s batting in Vishakhapatnam on Sunday raised compelling questions: Is the Indian team still heavily Kohli-dependent? Does India share a symbiotic relationship with Kohli, similar to the one it had with Tendulkar during the 1990s? While it may be difficult to answer these questions with certainty, let’s look at numbers that may provide some guidance.

Virat Kohli’s ODI batting records. (Bansal Shah)

There have been several instances over the years that suggest that there is indeed a symbiotic relationship between Kohli and Team India. A case in point is his innings in Hobart against Sri Lanka in the Commonwealth Bank series in 2012. Kohli smashed Lasith Malinga for five boundaries in an over and smashed an unbeaten 133 off 86 that saw India chase down over 320 runs in under 40 overs and keep their hopes alive in that series. Kohli’s blitz saw him being promoted to the vice-captaincy of the side almost overnight.

Other instances of India’s symbiotic relationship with Kohli are the innings against Pakistan in the ICC World T20 in 2022 and the innings in the recently-concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia. While the knock against arch-rivals Pakistan in Melbourne was marked by twin sixes of Harris Rauf that handed India an improbable victory, the 186 in Ahmedabad took India to a position from where they could not lose.

This symbiotic relationship comes into sharper focus, especially during victories and true to the definition of the word ‘symbiosis’, while the team has picked up wins, Kohli has gone on to register himself as one of the greatest players of all time.

This is borne out by numbers and his prominence in wins for India can be seen from his 20 ‘Player of the Series’ awards across formats. This puts him alongside Tendulkar on the list of players with the most such awards.

To add more context, Kohli averages 48.93 in Tests. The number increases to 51.85 in wins, and 72.68 in draws. Similarly, in ODIs, his career average of 57.69 shoots up to 74.26 in wins. The average further rises to 90.46 in successful run chases.

Virat Kohli’s runs scored in team wins. (Bansal Shah)

However, what makes Kohli one of the greatest of all time is his performance across different parameters when India have won.

Kohli’s heroics in ODIs

As far as the number of runs scored in wins in ODIs is concerned, Kohli ranks third with 9,209 runs, behind Tendulkar (11,157) and Ricky Ponting (10,726). In successful run chases, he inches up to the second position with 5,428 runs.

Kohli averages the highest in ODI victories (at least 50 wins) with 74.26. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a distant second with an average of 68.6. However, if these averages are further filtered to successful run chases, Dhoni’s 102.71 overtakes Kohli’s 90.46. Former Australian batsman Michael Bevan stands third with 86.25.

Virat Kohli’s average in ODI wins. (Bansal Shah)

Another important aspect is the ability to stay till the end of the 50th over. While middle and lower-order batters often find it easy to stay not out after playing out a few overs, it is the top-order (positions 1- 4) batters who find it difficult to do that. Kohli has been not out 34 times in 154 wins (22%) and stands second behind Jacques Kallis, who has been not out 36 times in 179 wins. In terms of percentage as well, Kohli stands second to Australia’s Damien Martyn, who has been not out 29 times out of 93 wins (31%).

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If only the second innings is considered, Kohli tops the chart on both fronts - 30 not outs from 89 wins with a percentage of 34%.

Virat Kohli’s average in T20I wins. (Bansal Shah)

Furthermore, Kohli is third in terms of scores of fifty or more in wins. He tops the charts in terms of percentage as far as this parameter is concerned though. With 76 scores of more than 50 in 164 ODI wins (46%), Kohli stands behind Ponting’s 94 50-plus scores in 262 ODIs (36%), and Tendulkar’s 92 50-plus scores in 234 ODI wins (39%). The second innings record takes him to the second spot with 44 50-plus scores in 93 ODI wins (47%).

All these numbers lead to two important milestones - 10 ‘Player of the Series’ awards and 38 ‘Player of the Match’ awards in ODIs. Kohli stands third on both fronts, only behind Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya.

None of the other current batters can compete with Kohli and he looks good to break the records of some of the stalwarts of the game with a few years of cricket still left in him.

How the Kohli + Team India symbiosis evolves in T20Is

It’s a similar story in T20Is as well. Kohli’s 15 ‘Player of the Match’ awards and seven ‘Player of the Series’ awards are the highest overall.

These awards were won on the back of some solid performances. Kohli is the second-highest scorer in wins with 2,848 runs in 75 victories and the highest scorer in 39 successful chases with 1,621 runs. He averages 66.23 in those 75 matches. This is the third-highest for batters who have been a part of at least 10 T20I wins. In the 39 run chases, Kohli’s average rises to 90.1. He ranks sixth here - the only parameter in which Kohli drops below the top five. The top five, in this regard, are Dinesh Karthik (194.0), George Dockrell (141.0), Mike Hussey (139.0), David Miller (103.3), and Cameron White (91.5). None of them are top-order batters.

Virat Kohli’s not outs while chasing in ODI wins. (Bansal Shah)

As far as not outs are concerned, Kohli tops with 23 not outs overall and 15 not outs in successful run chases.

Finally, Kohli’s 27 fifty-plus scores in 75 wins place him only behind Rohit Sharma, who has 29 more fifty-plus scores in 100 T20Is. Kohli moves to No 1 if you consider his 16 fifty-plus scores in 39 successful run chases in T20Is.

These numbers, therefore, show that Kohli is still unrivalled at 34. With a few more years to go before his retirement, he might reach unprecedented heights while continuing his symbiosis with the Indian team.

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first published:March 23, 2023, 15:23 IST
last updated:March 23, 2023, 15:55 IST