Well, Jimmy, Kohli’s cured his weak­ness!

The edi­tor of Cricket Statis­ti­cian analy­ses re­cent events

The Cricket Paper - - FEATURE & OPINION - SI­MON SWEET­MAN

Jimmy An­der­son has sug­gested that the na­ture of In­dian wick­ets has con­cealed the flaws in Vi­rat Kohli’s bat­ting, flaws out­side the off stump that seemed ev­i­dent when he played in Eng­land in 2014, when he scored 134 runs in ten in­nings in an ex­tremely poor In­dian per­for­mance.

Or it may be that Kohli, whose record since then is re­mark­able, has ironed out some of the flaws and reined in his shots ac­cord­ingly.

Since that English sum­mer, Kohli has played al­most con­stantly (though never in the Ranji Tro­phy, which he last played six years ago). He started with three ODIs in the West Indies (191 runs at 63.66 and a strike rate of 96.95), then five ODIs at home against Sri Lanka (329 runs at 82.85 and SR 104.11).

At the end of 2014 he played four Tests in Aus­tralia, scor­ing 692 runs at 86.5 (four hun­dreds). Then came a quick ODI tri-se­ries with Eng­land and Aus­tralia, where he failed, scor­ing only 24 in four in­nings. In the 2014/15 World Cup he scored 305 at 50.83, SR 81.55, as In­dia were beaten in the semi-fi­nal by Aus­tralia.

Then came a suc­cess­ful sea­son in the 2015 IPL (505 at 45.90, SR 130.82). In a quick Test match in Bangladesh he scored only 14 af­ter Vi­jay and Dhar­wan put on 283 for the first wicket, and in three ODIs he scored only 49 at 16.33 in a low scor­ing se­ries.

Three Tests in Sri Lanka in Au­gust 2015 pro­duced 233 runs at 38.83. In Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber South Africa toured In­dia. There were two T20 matches (44 in two in­nings) five ODIs (245 at 49.00, SR 87.18), and four Tests (200 at 33.33).

In Jan­uary 2016, In­dia went to Aus­tralia to play five ODIs and three T20s. In the ODIs Kohli made two hun­dreds, scor­ing al­to­gether 381 at 76.20, strike rate 99.21. In the T20s he passed 50 in all three in­nings and was out once –199 at an aver­age of 199.00 and a strike rate of 160.48. In Fe­bru­ary and March, it was to Mir­pur for the Asia Cup T20s, five matches, four in­nings (two not out), 153 at 76.50 and SR of 110.86, the com­pe­ti­tion won by In­dia.

Then came the World T20 which In­dia failed to win, though Kohli in five in­nings, two not out, scored 273 at a SR of 146.77. Kohli, of course, was man of the tour­na­ment. This was fol­lowed by a spec­tac­u­lar IPL, 973 runs with four hun­dreds and seven fifties, an aver­age of 81.08 and SR 152.03.

But the IPL is about the only time the In­dian na­tional squad stops play­ing, so in July they were off to the West Indies to play four Tests and two T20s. In the Tests Kohli scored 251 in four in­nings, though most of these came in a sin­gle in­nings of 200 in An­tigua. In the T20s he scored 16 the only time he bat­ted.

Back home again to en­ter­tain New Zealand, and Kohli made his sec­ond dou­ble cen­tury of the year, 211 in Indore, over­all mak­ing 309 at 51.50. In five ODI in­nings he made 358 with a top score of 154 not out and strike rate of just over a run a ball.

Then came Eng­land, 640 runs so far at 128.00 and the third Test dou­ble cen­tury of his year. Since tour­ing Eng­land he has played 31 ODIs, 17 T20s and 23 Tests (and two sea­sons in the IPL).

It would seem fair to sug­gest from all this that if there are flaws in Kohli’s bat­ting they have only shown up in Eng­land.

An­der­son, him­self, has strug­gled in In­dia so far, tak­ing four wick­ets in three Tests with the Eng­land seam­ers un­ex­pect­edly out­shone by the In­di­ans. An­der­son was very suc­cess­ful against Sri Lanka early in the year in con­di­tions ap­par­ently de­signed to hu­mil­i­ate the vis­i­tors, but has had a scrappy year since.

He will prob­a­bly not bowl against Kohli in Eng­land again, with no visit in 2017. Will he still be there in 2018 to test out his ideas?

Pro­lific: Vi­rat Kohli has been pil­ing on the runs in 2016

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