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Yearender 2017: For Virat Kohli, it was business as usual

With such outstanding numbers, it seems that cricket statisticians are only going to have a happy headache in the years to come as Virat Kohli's hunger for runs and records remains insatiable.

Written by: Aditya Chauhan , New Delhi [ Published on: December 27, 2017 12:18 IST ]
Image Source : BCCI IMAGE Virat Kohli celebrates after scoring a Test double hundred against Sri Lanka.

Having already established himself among the greats of the game - Virat 'Run Machine' Kohli once again finished the year topping the batting charts by some distance compared to his contemporaries.  The Indian skipper continued his good run of form from last year and simply went about his business right from the very start of the season. From converting fifties to hundreds, hundreds to double hundreds and double hundreds to successive double hundreds - the 29-year-old hardly put a foot wrong on the 22-yard strip whenever he came out with that wielding willow in his hand.

In almost every innings where he walked into the middle - he kept writing new batting records with his blade which seemed hungry every time it strikes the red or white cherry. Kohli was handed over the reins of the Indian cricket team in all three formats at the start of 2017 when MS Dhoni decided to pass on the baton to the fiery Delhi-born cricketer.

Since then, Kohli has hardly looked back as he grabbed the responsibility with both hands performing brilliantly in his roles as a captain and as a batsman. Kohli finished 2017 with a staggering 2,818 international runs across all formats. The India captain scored 1,059 runs in 10 Tests, 1,460 runs in 26 ODIs and 299 runs in 10 T20 Internationals.

This is the third-highest run tally ever recorded in a calendar year by any cricketer. The list is topped by Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara with 2868 runs in 2014 and Ponting's 2833 in 2005. With Kohli opting to sit out of the ODIs and T20Is against Sri Lanka, the India captain missed the magical figure and took the third spot on the esteemed list.

In 2017, Kohli hammered 11 hundreds including three double centuries (one vs Bangladesh and two vs Sri Lanka). He will now play for India only from January 5 in the first Test against South Africa in Cape Town.

Kohli's run in ODI cricket was, however, far more dominating than it was in Tests. He has had a sensational run in the 50-over format throughout the year, beginning with his hundred against England. He was in fine form in the Champions Trophy, got runs on the West Indies tour and then plundered runs against Australia and New Zealand at home.

Kohli finished the year as the highest run-scorer with 1,460 runs against his name in 26 innings. Kohli's teammate Rohit Sharma is second on the list with 1,293 runs in 21 innings. Kohli averaged close to 77 in the year and smashed 6 hundreds and 7 half-centuries.

Kohli is also the third-highest run scorer in Test cricket in 2017. However, he broke a plethora of records during the recently-concluded Test series against Sri Lanka where he became only the second Indian batsman after Vinod Kambli to score two consecutive double hundreds.

In the course of a dominant year for India, Kohli also went past Ricky Ponting and is now second on the list of century makers in ODIs. The Delhi dasher has 32 hundreds and many experts feel he would be able to get close or even surpass 'Little Master' Sachin Tendulkar's 49 ton-record in the format.

In Test cricket, Kohli now has the most double centuries as a Test captain (6). He joined Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag at the top of the list for most double centuries by an Indian in Test cricket. Kohli also set a new record for India as he aggregated 600-plus runs in a Test series thrice. He went past Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid, who have done it twice.

Kohli scored 692 runs in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2014-15 (four Tests) and 655 against England last season (five Tests) before doing it again in the three-match series against Sri Lanka. Legendary Sir Donald Bradman, having scored 600-plus in six series, is the only player ahead of Kohli in this regard.

In the one-off Test match against Bangladesh at the start of the year, Kohli surpassed his fellow countrymate Rahul Dravid and Bradman to script history. He became the first-ever cricketer to notch up double-centuries in consecutive series.

With a stunning 3-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka in the Test series in August, Kohli became the first Indian skipper to record an overseas clean sweep in a series of three or more matches. In the one-off T20I encounter against Sri Lanka, Kohli became the fastest batsman to reach the 15,000-mark run across all formats.

Kohli also became the first Indian captain to complete a tour-wash against an opponent, finishing 3-0 in Tests, 5-0 in ODIs and 1-0 in the T20I over Sri Lanka. With that, he equalled India's all-time record of most consecutive wins as a skipper, which was earlier held by Dhoni.

Under Kohli's leadership, Team India also maintained its stupendous run, ending the year at the top of Test and ODI rankings. During the limited-overs series against New Zealand, Kohli hammered a ton to became the fastest batsman to reach the 9000-ODI-run milestone.

With such outstanding numbers, it seems that cricket statisticians are only going to have a happy headache in the years to come as Kohli's hunger for runs and records remains insatiable.

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