Is India as dependent on Virat Kohli as it was on Tendulkar once?
Mumbai: The Indian cricket team will face Sri Lanka in the forthcoming one-day internationals (ODIs) and T20 matches without its star batsman and captain, Virat Kohli, who has been rested after he complained of a cricketing overload.
How far will the team miss Kohli’s services as a batsman? One way to answer that question would be to compare Kohli’s batting record with that of former Indian batting maestro, Sachin Tendulkar, whose prolific run-scoring ability would often power India’s performances in the past.
A comparison of Kohli’s share of runs for India with that of Tendulkar’s at the same stage of his career as Kohli (62 Test matches, 202 ODIs) shows that Tendulkar had a higher run share in a slender majority of both Test matches and ODIs. Tendulkar had a higher run-share than Kohli in 33 out of 62 Test matches. His run-share was higher than Kohli in 104 of 202 ODIs. In the rest of the matches, Kohli’s run share is higher.
But the gap between the two is higher when it comes to matches India won. Kohli’s median run share is significantly lower than Tendulkar’s (when he was at the same stage of his career as Kohli) in the Test matches India has won. Even in ODIs, Tendulkar’s median run share in India’s victories was higher, although the difference in ODIs between the two is narrow. It is worth noting that Kohli started out as an ODI specialist, while Tendulkar took several years to score his first ODI century.
The gap between the two appears wider if we compare Kohli’s career record with Tendulkar’s peak years—1994 to 2004. Tendulkar’s Test average first touched the 50-mark in 1994. The 10-year period since then saw some of his best performances. This included his heroic 136 against Pakistan in the 1999 Chennai Test which India ultimately lost, and back-to-back centuries in Sharjah to win against Australia in the 1998 ODI series.
The fact that India is less dependent on one batsman than in those years is a welcome development for the team. This is one record Kohli, the captain, wouldn’t want to break.