December 17, 2010

Kohli and his ODI exploits

Virat Kohli has shown that as an ODI batsman he is a notch higher than the other young contenders for India

The last two years have been outstanding ones for Virat Kohli the ODI batsman. For some time now he has been one of several young players India have tried to fill one of their middle-order spots, but unlike some of the others, Kohli has gone ahead and grabbed his chances so emphatically that he is now one of the certainties in the starting XI.

Since the beginning of 2009, Kohli has scored 1320 runs at an average touching 49, thus making him one of the best ODI performers during this period. Among Indians, only MS Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir have scored more runs, while Kohli's average of 48.88 has been bettered by seven batsmen in all.

One of the most impressive aspects of Kohli's batting has been his ability to convert starts, and to go on and make big hundreds. In these last two years, three batsmen have scored more ODI centuries than Kohli's four - Tillakaratne Dilshan (seven), AB de Villiers (six) and Hashim Amla (five). In only 40 matches Kohli has already won four Man-of-the-Mach awards, which isn't a bad rate of notching up these awards.

Batsmen with highest ODI averages since Jan 2009
Batsman ODIs Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s
AB de Villiers 33 1726 66.38 97.79 6/ 10
Sachin Tendulkar 23 1176 61.89 99.15 4/ 3
Hashim Amla 27 1538 61.52 93.38 5/ 9
MS Dhoni 47 1798 59.93 83.24 3/ 12
Tillakaratne Dilshan 39 1921 53.36 101.10 7/ 6
Jacques Kallis 24 1131 51.40 85.55 1/ 11
Eoin Morgan 34 1198 49.91 90.00 3/ 7
Virat Kohli 35 1320 48.88 84.94 4/ 9
Michael Clarke 42 1645 48.38 73.83 2/ 13
Michael Hussey 57 1991 47.40 91.12 0/ 17

One of the most impressive aspects of the way Kohli has shaped up has been his handling of the middle overs. That's a period when batsmen are expected to rotate the strike, play risk-free cricket, and yet score at a good clip. Kohli has managed all of those aspects pretty well, which is what makes him such a good No.3 batsman.

Between overs 16 and 40, Kohli has scored 867 runs from 960 balls, for an average of 61.92 and a run-rate of 5.41 per over. Moreover, of those 960 balls, he hasn't scored off only 412, which is a very low percentage of 42.92. Among batsmen who've scored at least 750 runs in the middle overs, only de Villiers has a lower dot-ball percentage (36.75). In terms of averages too Kohli is right up there, with only three batsmen having a higher average.

Batsmen with the highest averages in the middle overs (16 to 40)
Batsman Runs Dismissals Average Run rate Dot-ball%
AB de Villiers 1392 15 92.80 5.94 36.75
MS Dhoni 1305 19 68.68 4.75 47.05
Michael Hussey 1227 19 64.57 4.82 44.01
Virat Kohli 867 14 61.92 5.41 42.92
Eoin Morgan 813 15 54.20 4.95 51.83
Suresh Raina 791 15 52.73 5.78 44.09
Paul Collingwood 935 19 49.21 4.71 50.17
Cameron White 994 21 47.33 4.35 52.81

A stand-out features of Kohli's short career so far has been the manner in which he has handled pressure, especially the pressure of run-chases. In the 23 innings when he has batted second in ODIs, Kohli averages 60.35, at a strike rate of almost 84. Some of his most memorable performances have come when India have been confronted with tough run-chases: at Eden Gardens against Sri Lanka a year back, India were struggling at 23 for 2 chasing 316, when Kohli scored 107 and combined with Gambhir to take India to victory. A couple of months back against Australia he was at it again, scoring 118 - his highest ODI score - to help India overcome a run-chase of 290 after they'd lost their first two wickets for only 35. Of the four centuries he has scored, three have come when batting second.

When batting first he averages only 30.20, which is almost exactly half his average when chasing. However, there are indications he is improving there as well - his last innings when batting first was 105, against New Zealand three weeks ago.

In the last two years, Kohli's average when batting second is one of the best, with only de Villiers and Gambhir doing better.

Highest averages in run-chases since Jan 2009 (Qual: 600 runs)
Batsman Innings Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s
AB de Villiers 15 698 77.55 96.27 2/ 4
Gautam Gambhir 20 1095 68.43 94.80 3/ 7
Virat Kohli 19 958 63.86 86.30 3/ 7
Tillakaratne Dilshan 17 856 57.06 110.59 4/ 1
MS Dhoni 19 671 55.91 77.66 1/ 5
Eoin Morgan 23 836 55.73 87.26 2/ 5
Brendan Taylor 16 722 55.53 81.48 2/ 5
Shane Watson 17 730 52.14 81.38 2/ 3

Over the last two years India have tried out a number of young batsmen or allrounders to fill in some of their middle-order slots, and with his consistent performances Kohli has clearly gone a few paces ahead of his competitors. Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik and Murali Vijay have been among those who've fallen behind and failed to make the most of their chances. Kohli, on the other hand, has done enough to earn for himself a regular place in the first XI of the Indian one-day team. The next challenge for him will be to break into the Test side. He'll surely get an opportunity, given the age of the current middle-order stalwarts and the recent failures of Suresh Raina. How he handles those opportunities will determine if Kohli can take his international career to the next level.

Indian batsmen in ODIs in the last two years
Batsman Innings Runs Average Strike rate 100s/ 50s
Virat Kohli 32 1320 48.88 84.94 4/ 9
Suresh Raina 42 1236 38.62 99.27 1/ 8
Rohit Sharma 21 606 35.64 81.78 2/ 1
Ravindra Jadeja 22 535 31.47 76.97 0/ 4
Yusuf Pathan 21 432 30.85 110.48 1/ 1
Dinesh Karthik 24 678 30.81 77.04 0/ 3
Murali Vijay 8 178 22.25 64.96 0/ 0

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • arnav on December 20, 2010, 11:17 GMT

    I think Kohli gifted with technique.Has lots of potential.he should be ready to take Dravid's shoes in tests after his retirements.I think he can replace the great Wall. Kohli can shift gears while batting.He is a Good Player.Lets hope he remains for a longer time ...

  • Dummy4 on December 19, 2010, 4:06 GMT

    What Cabinet said, why there wasn't a similar article about de Villiers would surprise me if not for the obvious Indian bias Cricinfo has taken since awful, awful ESPN has taken over.

  • oscar on December 18, 2010, 18:32 GMT

    What this really shows is how good Ab de Villiers is

  • Dummy4 on December 18, 2010, 7:44 GMT

    He can do even better if he use his brain.But for now he has a big head up on his shoulders than a brain.

  • Dummy4 on December 18, 2010, 5:32 GMT

    Send him to Centurion to get hustled by Steyn & Morkel...then we'd know how 'quality' player he is!

  • rahul on December 18, 2010, 4:01 GMT

    Wow plenty of batsmen with over 60 average in ODIs.

  • Akshay on December 17, 2010, 22:25 GMT

    For people that have said this data is accurate, this article points out that Kohli is the best INDIAN young player over the last two years. So whether they played only 'minows' or in home conditions, the comparison between Kohli and other youngsters in the ODI team for India is fair and reasonable.

  • Dummy4 on December 17, 2010, 22:10 GMT

    the ironic thing about this articule is that he hasnt topped any of these stats,and doesnt even come close to topping the stats,from the perspective of taking young indian talent in mind this articule is really pretty bogus.Not too long ago there were articules about SK raina,then before that rohit sharma being touted as the savior.Lets just face it that until one of these guys actually becomes mentally stable to the longer games then the problem with who the next best thing is will be resolved,otherwise they all hav around about the same talent but expressed in different ways with sk raina looking the most destructive,rohit looking like the guy that should be the next middle order indian great(unfortunatly that isnt the case in most actual circumstances) and virat being the most balanced in attack and defense.Lets face it,india is over hyped to a degree that its difficult to praise them at all,mind u most of my friends detest indias overhyping factor,i praise what i see on the pitch.

  • Andy on December 17, 2010, 20:26 GMT

    Virat has long way to go...where Raina is now.

  • alaghu on December 17, 2010, 19:43 GMT

    Too early to say against vijay. He is best player in test matches. Still he is good odi , t20 player

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