Virat Kohli and his dominating feat in 2016 can be summed up best in the famous phrase of “He came, he saw, he conquered”.
While writing for a birthday special piece on Sachin Tendulkar and his colossal feats of 1998 as one of the greatest cricketing romances ever, I wondered seriously by witnessing the rise of the Indian skipper till the first quarter of the year then and promised my readers of a special piece on the current mainstay of Indian batting at the end of the year if he were to gallop the same all season through. And truly, the Delhiite has not upset me and now it is on my part not to break my promise and thus upset my readers.
At the onset, let’s just sink in the figures of the run machine for this year 2016.
What looks the most astounding are the averages in all three formats. He started the year with a bang with the limited-overs and gave the world a masterclass in T20s. In between, he shone in those limited opportunities in the 50-overs and not to mention of his exploits in the Tests – scoring all three of his Test double centuries this year. In fact, he has now scored double tons in each of his last three series.
If that was not enough, we can include the most expensive and sought-after non-international cricket tournament in the world – Indian Premier League – where the Royal Challengers Bangalore captain was the highest run-getter. He scored an unprecedented four centuries in the summer endeavour.
Though many critics might object to this grand total of mixing internationals with otherwise, this is just to fathom how much impact Kohli punched in this year while the limelight was all on him.
Coming to the other years when the superstar scored 2000 runs or more across formats in a calendar year.
So every alternate year since 2012, Virat Kohli’s bat has turned a sword. However, in terms of centuries, he had more in those two seasons than that he had this season – a reason for this is the first quarter of the year that was dominated by the T20s in tune up to the World T20.
Kohli’s exploits this year stands 8th in the list of runs aggregated in a calendar year, but none have scored 2000 runs or more at an average (86) greater than him. Only Sir Viv Richards could boast of a better average for annual aggregates of 1500 runs or more in a year.
|V Richards (1976)||14||22||1926||91.71||291||8||6|
|V Kohli (2016)||37||41||2595||86.50||235||7||13|
|S Tendulkar (2010)||16||25||1766||84.09||214||8||5|
However, none of Richards or Tendulkar played all-around the calendar as the 28-year old Indian did this year.
With contemporary English batsman Joe Root too making more than 2500 runs in 2016, his aggregate being 25 runs lesser from an outing of 14 innings more than that of Kohli. Apart from Kohli and Root, two other batsmen made more than 2000 runs this year – the Australian duo of David Warner and Steven Smith.
Dissecting this year further, Kohli became the first to score 500 runs or more in a year in T20Is – the feat also realised by the Afghan keeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad who did it with an average of 37 against the Indian’s 106. Kohli also averaged 96 when he made 385 T20I runs in 2014 – thus monopolising the feature of aggregating 80 or more per innings while scoring 300 or more in the shortest format annually.
Coming to the limited number of ODIs that he played this year, only the former South African all-rounder Lance Klusener (1999) could boast of a superior average than Kohli while making more runs than him in a year. The ODI vice-captain’s 2016 average stands fifth among those scoring 500 or more in a calendar year.
Coming to the longest format, Kohli stands fourth behind the English trio – Joe Root, Johnny Bairstow and Alastair Cook – for most runs in the past 12 months. However, none of them could average 60 or more, while the Indian prolific run-getter made almost 76 runs an innings.
Now as it is clear that Kohli had bragging rights over 2016, there comes an obvious comparison with Kohli-2016 to Tendulkar-1998 – though denying little of their individual legacy.
Now there come a lot of similarities in the number of innings played as well as the year aggregate. While Kohli rules the averages, Tendulkar being an opener in the ODIs (1894 of 2541 came there) could not have the privilege of finishing it like his successor. However, it is the strike-rate of Tendulkar that still amazes me – he was so brisk in Tests as well that year that he complemented nicely his ODI strike-rate of 102. Both of them have had an identical innings (20) of 50 or more.
While Tendulkar’s ODI aggregate of 1894 runs and 9 tons in 1998 has faced little challenged all these years, Kohli too was path-breaking in making those 641 T20I runs at 106 an innings coupled with 7 fifties. The run-machine too rewrote the IPL chronicles. As the little master dazzled in those little opportunities that he got in the Tests in 1998, the current Test captain too mesmerised the world with his exploits from the ODIs this year. However, while Tendulkar became the first ever to breach the 2500 international runs barrier in 1998 with Mark Waugh a distant second for that year at 1791, Kohli has three companions in the 2000-club this year with Root a close second.
Irrespective of all scepticism, Virat Kohli has taught the world in 2016 about how one should not only build an innings but also finish it off in style.
Photo by himanisdas