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Maxwell to Kohli on run-out: 'I just can't bat with you. You run too fast'

ESPNcricinfo experts Ian Bishop and Daniel Vettori debate on the value of a quick single in T20s

Nagraj Gollapudi and Shiva Jayaraman
The Royal Challengers Bangalore batting pair of Virat Kohli and Glenn Maxwell have been involved in two run-outs in IPL 2022. On both occasions, Kohli had called for a quick single, which proved fatal for him and his partner. Both run-outs have once again reopened the debate around the value of a quick single in T20 cricket.
On Wednesday, in the ninth over of the match against Chennai Super Kings, Kohli tapped the ball in front of square on the offside and set off with his head down for a tight run. Maxwell, hesitant in his initial few steps, failed to make the crease and walked back disappointed having played just three balls in which he made three runs. On April 16, against Delhi Capitals, Kohli had similarly set off for a single, having dropped the ball to short point. Maxwell, having noted Lalit Yadav was closing in swiftly at point, refused his partner's call, which forced Kohli to turn back, but he was beaten by a direct hit.
While the probability of two batters being involved in more than one run-out is not unprecedented, Maxwell hinted to Kohli that he was not a big fan of taking quick singles. "I just can't bat with you. You run too fast. You run too fast," Maxwell told Kohli during the de-briefing session after the team's 13-run win over Super Kings, a clip of which was put on Royal Challengers' website on Thursday. "And you get ones and twos, and I don't."
ESPNcricinfo experts Ian Bishop and Daniel Vettori called Kohli's call for a single on Wednesday a "poor" decision. According to Bishop, there is place for singles in T20s, but he felt Kohli's call was purely a "misjudgement".
"It looked doubtful," Bishop said on ESPNcricinfo's T20 Time Out, after Royal Challengers' innings.
"Kohli is very quick and he knows Maxwell is also generally quick between the wickets and it's just a misjudgement. I have no problem with the quick single. Because when you have got, let's say two powerful boundary-hitting teams, all things being equal on a good surface, they are going to go toe for toe against the best.
"Sometimes, the things I have seen in the tournament, that has defined the winning margin is not necessarily the single - a single is part of it - but the number of balls scored off, not necessarily the boundaries. It's the balls that you scored off in between boundaries. There's a defining place of it but running is part of the judgement - you judge poorly, you get run out. But I think the single is still a defining part of these contests."
Vettori agreed partly with Bishop but said he has never been a fan of tight singles. "Just tap it to cover and run is not good judgement. We should assess each run-out on individual basis, on their merit because it's just poor run," Vettori said. "He [Kohli] was in a rush to get off strike because obviously, he wanted to keep turning over the singles and then Maxwell, who is as quick as anyone, just couldn't get there in the end. So what it does is, it means we don't get to see Maxwell bat, we don't get to see Maxwell put pressure on their spinners. All that for the sake of a quick single can't be worth it."
As per ESPNcricinfo's logs, Kohli has been involved 40 times in run-outs in T20s, of which he has been out on 15 occasions.
Importantly, Kohli and Maxwell pace their innings in different ways. That was probably the broader point Maxwell was trying to make when he said he doesn't get his runs off ones and twos.
Maxwell scores 62.04% of his runs through boundaries in T20 cricket as compared to Kohli's 54.3%. Of the 74 batters who've scored 5000-plus T20 runs, Maxwell ranks 22nd in terms of runs scored through boundaries, while Kohli ranks 58th. Overall, though, both Kohli and Maxwell are among the safest runners between wickets in T20 cricket. While Kohli is involved in a run-out every 120 runs he runs, Maxwell's involvement is once every 138 runs. Among 30 batters with 3000-plus all-run runs, Maxwell ranks fourth, and Kohli is seventh. These rankings are arrived at by dividing all runs scored by the number of times the batter has been involved in run-outs. So higher the ranking, the less risky they are in their running.
Vettori, who has previously coached Royal Challengers, felt subcontinent batters often prefer dashing for a tight single.
"You see a lot of, particularly subcontinent batsmen, who just drop and run and then they get turned away, rather than I suppose other batsmen who may expect the first call from the batsman striking.
"When you are intuitive with each other and understand your ability to run between the wickets together, then that makes sense. But sometimes, when it comes to these franchise leagues, you may have to take a step back and understand that not everyone is on the same wavelength when it comes to running. And Maxwell and Kohli may be a poor example of that because they've played together for over a year now, they may have some understanding."
Summing up the run-out, Bishop called it a "poor run". "You can't get a run-out of a run that's not there unless a guy misreads."

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo. Shiva Jayaraman is a senior stats analyst at ESPNcricinfo @shiva_cricinfo.