The extraordinary record-breaking year enjoyed by Virat Kohli, celebrated and dissected – huge number by mind-blowing stat – by Benedict Gardner.
Kohli’s year so far
Virat Kohli has had an incredible year, the sort of year that even before it’s over deserves appreciating, indulging and marvelling at. We’ve compiled the best of his 2016 stats for your enjoyment. So sit back, stick on your favourite Christmas carol/IPL team theme song, and let these numbers wash over you.
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Let’s start with the big ones. Kohli’s overall record this year, across all formats, is 2,580 runs at an average of 88.96. It is already the second most runs by an Indian in a year (more on that later), and it is the highest average for any player with 2,000+ runs in a year. Impressed? We are just getting started. Kohli’s 2016 Test average of 80 puts him second on the list of Indians with more than 1,000 runs in a year, and he has just reached second place in the ICC’s Test batting rankings for the first time, to go with second place in the ODI rankings. His ODI average of 92.37 is the best by an Indian with more than 500 runs in a year.
But it’s in T20Is that Kohli has achieved a level of consistency that may never be matched again. His 641 runs is a record, and his average for the year is 106.83. 106.83! In T20s! And then there’s the IPL, in which he scored 973 runs at an average of 81, with four hundreds, again the best-ever in a T20 series. He is ranked by the ICC as the best T20I batsman in the world, and his best-ever rating of 897 points is the best-ever of everyone. I’ve said best-ever a lot, and I might just be saying it a lot more over the next 10 years.
And he’s not done yet
All these stats come with a caveat; that the year’s not over. There’s still almost half our advent calendars, and one Test of India’s series against England left, and Kohli has a lot of landmarks in his sight. If you’re an England fan dreading a drubbing, these potential milestones might just make the inevitable Kohli marathon bearable; at least the thrashing will be historic.
KOHLI’S 2016 CHECKLIST:
Most international runs by an Indian in a year, surpassing Dravid’s 2,626 in 1999
Most runs by an Indian in a series, overtaking Gavaskar’s 774 runs in the ’71 series against West Indies
Most runs by any captain in a series, beating Bradman’s 810 in the ’36/’37 Ashes
Most runs by anyone in a year, putting Ponting’s 2,833 in 2005 into second
Most runs in any series, moving past the Don’s 974 in the 1930 Ashes
1,000 runs in a series (nothing is impossible for Kohli)
Perhaps overlooked is that Kohli’s astonishing run has coincided with him taking on the increased pressure of the Test captaincy; he and his team have flourished under his command. India’s current streak of 17 unbeaten matches, stretching back to August last year, is their joint-longest, although their 13 wins in this streak far exceeds their four wins in the previous run (Sep ’85 – Mar ’87). This year alone, India have won 10 games and lost none, the third most Test wins in an undefeated year. His Test average of 65.5 is the second-best by any captain with more than 2,000 runs as leader (with Don Bradman unsurprisingly in first).
Revealing too are the performances of India’s key bowlers under Kohli. Ashwin’s wickets cost 19.4 runs each on average under Kohli, and Jadeja’s 20.5, while under Dhoni their respective figures are 28.8 and 30.4. It hardly bears thinking about what Kohli will do when he takes over the limited-overs captaincy full time as well.