Virat Kohli: India's big-game hunter

Nov 01 2013, 10:41 IST
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Virat Kohli has hit 11 hundreds in run chases, all of which have led to wins (PTI) Virat Kohli has hit 11 hundreds in run chases, all of which have led to wins (PTI)
SummaryVirat Kohli has hit 11 hundreds in run chases, all of which have led to wins.

Even cynics will agree to the fact that Virat Kohli is presently the one man who every team would when confronted with a big target. The numbers will support such a claim as Kohli, incredibly, averages 86.53 in 46 successful run-chases so far.

He has 11 centuries — joint-second presently behind Sachin Tendulkar — in 64 innings that he’s batted in a run-chase. Moreover, on the seven occasions that India have surpassed a 300 plus target since Kohli’s debut, he’s scored centuries in five of them and led the way. This particular statistic is more than anything a testament to Kohli the person as much as it is to Kohli the finisher.

It is said that right from his junior cricket days, the Delhi right-hander has never shied away from being the prima donna of every team he’s represented. To his credit, he’s always had the ability to pursue that image. Over the years, he’s also proved repeatedly that he is ‘the man’ for the big occasion. The show-man who wants nothing less than the centre-stage to show his wares and thrives on headlining every event he’s a part of.

The whole package

When it comes to championing run-chases, Kohli’s clearly the whole package. He’s got the canniness of a Michael Bevan, the ability to destroy an attack and an inherent aggression like an MS Dhoni, a surgeon-like precision to pick gaps for ones and twos like a Mike Hussey and the speed and judgement of a Jonty Rhodes between the wickets.

Moreover, his innings aren’t always built on a flurry of boundaries and an explosion of bat sending ball on a leather-hunt. Instead, the method to his madness is always circumstantial. But few amazing trends emerge if you look at the five centuries in particular that he’s scored when India have overcome the 300-run milestone — including the two against Australia in the ongoing series.

Technical prowess

In run-chases, Kohli’s strike-rate of 95.72 is only fourth behind Virender Sehwag, Adam Gilchrist and Sanath Jayasuriya-three of the most fearsome batsmen ODI cricket has ever produced. While Kohli doesn’t possess the brute force of any of the other three, he makes up for it with his technical prowess and his ability to manipulate the bowling and field placements.

He also does it by rotating the strike. In fact in those five centuries, only on four occasions overall did the opposition team manage to bowl more

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