Well, Jimmy, Kohli’s cured his weakness!
The editor of Cricket Statistician analyses recent events
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