Virat Kohli’s Cricket career, going forward …

Despite the strong push by Cricket Boards (BCCI/ECB/CA) and by eminent legends (E.g. Virat Kohli, Ricky Ponting, Ben Stokes Etc.), it is clear that Test Cricket is facing a crisis. Other than matches involving ENG, AUS and IND, there are barely any spectators watching the match (in the stadium or through OTT). A new T20 league is cropping up every month and upcoming players are tuning their game with T20s in mind. Cannot blame them for that is where the money (probably) is, at least with respect to major T20 leagues like IPL, Big Bash Etc.

With Virat’s recent 45th ODI century, he is in the 6th position in terms of the all-time highest ODI run scorers. It is interesting that in the Top-6, 3 are Sri Lankans! And each of them have played more than (or close to) 400 (!) ODIs. You think SL plays a lot of ODIs? 😊 Sachin had played 463 ODIs over 23 years. I.e. Roughly “20 ODIs per year” pace. Virat has played 266 ODIs over 15 years. I.e. Roughly “18 ODIs per year” pace. The 20-18=2 decrease can be attributed to the remarkable rise of T20s/T20Is since 2007 timeframe (which eats into the time available for ODIs in Cricket calendar), I think.

In Test Cricket, Virat’s batting average has dipped to 26.20 (!) since Jan 2020 (over 36 innings, which means the sample size is not that small). The fact that his overall Test batting average is still 48.90 shows how much his form has dipped since Jan 2020. Time will tell as to how long he can hold on to his batting spot in the Test playing XI.

In T20Is, IMHO, his game does not match what modern T20 game requires and more importantly, IND cannot afford more than 1 “innings builder” batsman in the playing XI. Let us see how long he can hold on to his T20I spot, especially with a slew of made-for-modern-T20 youngsters lurking in the background.

That leaves us with ODIs. Even during his “overall form dip” since Jan 2020, he has been averaging 40+ in ODIs (at an excellent SR of 92+) and this is probably the format where he can have the best longevity. If he can play ODIs for another 2-3 years, which is not a stretch considering how fit the dude is, he will for sure beat Sachin’s record for ODI centuries. Sachin’s total ODI runs is safe, I believe. Virat is still 6000+ runs away from that particular target. 82% of Virat’s ODI 100s have resulted in a win. In successful ODI chases, Virat has 22 centuries (Next is Sachin, with 14).


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