All sorts of comparisons have been done. Virat Kohli vs God of Cricket (Sachin Tendulkar), Virat Kohli vs AB de Villiers.
Virat Kohli has been deemed an “All Format Great” already by many. He is 27 years old. Few critics would still want to see his longevity and consistency in the longer format of the game before putting him in that league of “All Format Greats” which currently possibly has only one batsman. AB de Villiers. Tendulkar wasn’t a T20 Great mainly because the format gained prominence towards the twilight of his career.
Let’s put aside qualitative comparisons and for a moment, look at what Kohli has achieved in the 50 Over format and put it in perspective to what other Greats of the game have achieved or ended up achieving.
The data set considered is the list of Top 50 ODI batsmen sorted by ODI hundreds and features most of the best names that played this format and mastered it (in Batting).
Let’s start with this metric “Innings per Century”. Kohli scores one ODI century every 6.5 innings. Isn’t that an insane number? Tendulkar took 9.2, Ponting took 12.2, Ganguly 13.6 and Sehwag a whopping 16.3. There are only two players in the World currently, who score hundreds at a faster pace than Kohli – Quinton de Kock (5.7) and Hashim Amla (5.8). I’m sure if we just look at the last 2 years data in isolation, Kohli’s rate would be less than 5 innings per Century. He’s been in that kind of form.
Centuries per Year, another metric which is a reflection of the century scoring appetite, tells us the same story.
Kohli scores 3 ODI centuries every year. Sachin used to score 2, Sehwag 1.
Let’s move on to Batting Averages. While looking at these numbers, I realize how frickin’ awesome a career AB de Villiers too has had. He averages close to 55 and strikes at 100+ and has 24 hundreds. He doesn’t even open the innings for his side. A dedicated ABD post coming up later. Let’s stick to our man, Virat Kohli for now.
He is the only Indian who averages above 50 apart from the legendary MS Dhoni (who has 67 not outs to his credit). Viv Rishards averaged 47, Hayden 44, Dravid 39.
Let’s now look at a really interesting view. Numbers stacked up by all players in the duration Kohli has played the game – 2008 till date. Some really interesting observations from the table below.
Top 2 ODI run getters in the last 8 years are Sri Lankans mainly because they’ve played more ODI Cricket than any other country. Sanga and Dilshan have scored 7.5k+ runs each at averages of 48 and 44, which is commendable. de Villiers averages 63.4 in this duration, which means his initial few years in ODI cricket were pretty ordinary, to his standards.
Kohli has scored more hundreds than anyone, in the last 8.5 years. Dhoni averages a staggering 56 in the same duration, a testimony to the fact that he’s been the go to man for India when it comes to ODIs.
Let’s move on to absolute centuries scored. God stands tall, right up there with 49. It’s a matter of 30-35 innings before Kohli goes to number 2 in the list with 31 hundreds. The question remains. Will he surpass Sachin Tendulkar to end his career with 50+ ODI hundreds? My hunch says he will surpass Sachin before he turns 34. And if at all that happens, we all know who the happiest man on earth will be.
“I’ll be happy if an Indian breaks my records”.
Next post in the series – Virat Kohli, the Chase Master. Read it here.
More posts in this series coming up. Suggestions welcome.