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All fans want is one century from Virat Kohli

14 innings, 440 runs at 33.84 in 2020 isn't Virat Kohli's worst start to a calendar year. He has seen the worst, but Kohli still had a century in that run. Is the triple-figure mark all that fans want from Kohli.

Aratrick Mondal Aratrick Mondal
New Delhi Published on: February 26, 2020 9:07 IST
Virat Kohli after being dismissed by Kyle Jamieson in the
Image Source : GETTY IMAGES

Virat Kohli after being dismissed by Kyle Jamieson in the first innings in Wellington

"With great power comes great responsibility." Peter Parker's uncle Ben had hugely popularised the line written by comic-book writer Stan Lee. Twist that a little and put Virat Kohli into the equation, the word 'responsibility' implies a different meaning - of impressing the avid followers of the game. And what do fans want - that one century that has made the entire fraternity bewildered. Those are the great perils of being Virat Kohli. 

Over course of his glorious 12-year-long international career, Kohli has emerged as a present-day demi-god for budding cricketers. And for fans, he is the foremost hope of India breaking any crucial barrier no matter the circumstances. When the team needs a respectable total, Kohli is there to add up singles and mix it well with some boundaries. When the team needs to chase a big total, there is no better batsman than the 31-year-old, also dubbed as the Chase Master, with his statistics even better than Sachin Tendulkar. And, Kohli is the only hope of cricket fans, having the chance and ability to shatter Sachin's all-time batting records. Hence, by virtue of the colourful feathers, he has managed to cram his hat with, people have sought to expect more and even more every time he steps in. And hence, every mistake he makes becomes a headline, and a lengthy century-less run becomes a cause of concerns among fans.

Kohli had last scored a century against Bangladesh in Kolkata during the historic pink-ball Test in the month of November 2019. Since then, Kohli hasplayed 21 innings across formats - 11 in T20Is, 9 in ODIs and two in Tests - without another century. He did score four half-centuries, three of which were 85-plus. But his journey to the triple-figure mark was cut short on each of those four occasions. Yet, if looked at his numbers over these 21 innings, he averages 39.55 from 712 runs he amassed since his last century. It is, in fact, the highest he has scored among his previous century-less runs. 

Kohli's worst run was between February 28, 2014  to October 11, when he scored 524 runs in 26 innings at 22.7 with four half-centuries. It is followed by his run between February 27, 2011 to September 11, where he scored 562 runs in 24 innings across formats, averaging 22.7.

Kohli's three worst century-less runs...

Duration Innings Runs Average 50s
28 Feb 2014 - 11 Oct 26 524 22.7 6
27 Feb 2011 - 11 Sep 24 562 23.41 4
6 Dec 2019 - till date 21 712 39.55 6

Moreover, his present century-less run, which also includes 14 innings from the start of 2020, isn't the worst start to his calendar year. In the two T20I series (3 against Sri Lanka and 5 against New Zealand), two ODI series (3 each against Australia and New Zealand) and one Test match so far (against New Zealand), Kohli scored 440 runs at 33.84 with three half-centuries. Kohli has endured poorer start to a calendar year previously in his career. 

Not counting 2009, where he started midway through the year and played just 10 matches, Kohli's worst-ever start was back in 2013, when he managed just 308 runs in the first 14 innings of the year and averaged 25.66. But he did score a century. In 2010, Kohli had averaged 35.18 from the first 14 innings of that year. But once again, he did score a century. The 2020 run stands a tad below the latter stats, but the only difference between the two stands that triple-figure mark that fans and cricket shows have all been talking about. And for a man, who even after this run of form since his 136 at home, scores an international hundred every 6.54 innings, it is a big deal. 

Kohli's first 14 innings across formats in every calendar year...

Year Innings Runs Average 100
2009 10 325 33.84 0
2010 14 387 35.18 1
2011 14 281 54.16 1
2012 14 561 40.07 1
2013 14 308 25.66 1
2014 14 643 53.58 3
2015 14 442 40.18 2
2016 14 510 102 2
2017 14 525 40.38 2
2018 14 536 48.72 4
2019 14 658 50.61 3
2020 14 440 33.84 0

Just look at those numbers since 2014 (the year that holds Kohli's worst century-less run), the average did not drop below 40, with his highest being 102 which he recorded in 2016. But that does not hide the fact that the ongoing tour has been Kohli's worst (among tours featuring 2 or more formats) since India's tour of Bangladesh in 2015. Kohli scored only 65 runs in the Test and ODI series, averaging only 15.75. His only other dismal tour was his infamous visit to England, where he scored 254 runs in 15 innings across formats at 18.14 with just one half-century. 

Kohli's numbers in all his overseas tours...

  Innings Runs Average 100 50
2011 SA ODI, T20I  6 221 44.2 0 2
2011 WI all formats 11 419 38.09 2 2
2011 ENG ODI, T20I 6 198 33 1 1
11/12 AUS Test, T20I 10 353 35.3 1 1
2012 SL T20I, ODI 6 364 72.8 2 1
13/14 SA ODI, Test 6 303 50.5 1 1
13/14 NZ ODI, Test 9 505 63.12 2 3
2014 ENG all formats 15 254 18.14 0 1
2015 BAN Test, ODI 4 63 15.75 0 0
15/16 AUS ODI, T20I 8 580 96.66 2 5
2017 WI ODI, T20I 6 283 70.75 1 1
2017 SL all formats 10 573 81.85 3 2
2018 SA all formats 14 871 79.18 4 2
2018 ENG all formats 16 894 59.6 2 5
18/19 AUS all  12 500 45.45 2 2
2019 WI ODI, Test 6 370 74 2 0
2020 NZ all formats 9* 201* 22.33* 0* 1*

His present sequence of scores in the New Zealand tour read 45, 11, 38, 11 (T20s); 51, 15, 9 (ODIs) and 2 and 19 (1st Test). So how does he assess his own batting performance?

"I am absolutely fine. I am batting really well. I feel that sometimes scores don't reflect the way you are batting and that's what can happen when you don't execute what you want to well," Kohli said after India's 10-wicket loss in the first Test in Wellington. 

Kohli, in fact, is unfazed by his scores and feels 3-4 such innings should be let gone given that he plays so much cricket around the world. 

"Look when you play so much cricket and you play for so long, obviously you will have 3-4 innings that don't go your way. If you try and make too much out of it, it'll keep piling on," he explained. "I think it's about staying in a good space and I know the chat on the outside changes with one innings. But I don't think like that. If I thought like people on the outside, I would probably be on the outside right now."

Kohli further added that even a score of 40 in the second Test will make him happy if the team wins the match, and that a century, which is all that fans have been wanting throughout his last 21 innings, is in a lost cause is irrelevant.

"I am looking forward to contributing in a win in the next Test. It doesn't matter what I do. It's never been about my performance on tour or about how many runs I score. It's all about if the team wins, even a 40 is good. If the team loses, then even a 100 is irrelevant for me, and I'm going to stay in that mindset," he stated.

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