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India vs England Test 2021 - Virat Kohli would hope to replicate 2018 form

A detailed analysis of Virat Kohli's performance on 2014 and 2018 England's tour.

India vs England: Virat Kohli would like to repeat his 2018 success against England. Five Match India England Test series 2021 beginning from 4th August.
Virat Kohli scored 593-runs including two centuries on 2018 England tour. (Image: ©BCCI)

Virat Kohli is one name in cricket, who will echo for a long time in the cricket world. The Delhi-born cricketer has played a fearless brand of cricket in his whole career that’s why he is known as the megastar of world cricket. His accomplishments are astounding in every format of the game. Hence, he is regarded as one of the greatest batsmen in the history of cricket.

Here we are following the trajectory of his Test career from the perspective of the upcoming India England Test series.

Virat Kohli’s revival on 2018 England tour

We have seen that the Indian skipper is dominant in the limited overs format but his feats in the longest format of the game are not ordinary as well. The 32-year-old batsman already piled up over 7000 runs along with seven humongous double centuries in just 92 Test matches. Also, the right-hander has dominated every type of bowling attack in different conditions all over the globe.

It hasn’t been a seamless ride for Virat Kohli in Tests like his ODI career as he has had his share of ups and downs in his Test career. As we can see in the above chart, his disastrous Test series on the 2014 England tour resulted in just 134 runs in 10 innings with a measly average of 13.4.

However, the Indian skipper cast aside his demons of the 2014 England tour from his mind and rose from the ashes to clinch glory on the tour of England in 2018 by racking up a staggering 593 runs laced with two breath-taking centuries and three half-centuries.

We can imagine how dominant was his batting performance in the 2018 Test series against England. The Indian skipper accumulated a whopping 600 runs in the five-match Test series, when no other batsman in both teams could even cross the 350-run mark in the series.

The right-handed batsman played like a lone warrior from the Indian team in the series and struck two centuries in the series against one of the greatest swing bowling attacks comprising of swing grandmaster James Anderson and seasoned speedster Stuart Broad.

The RCB batsman amassed around 24 per cent runs of his team runs, whereas no one from both sides scored more than 14 per cent runs for their team.

From the Indian team, no one reached the 300 run-mark. KL Rahul was the second-highest run-scorer in the series with 299 runs to his credit. Cheteshwar Pujara was the third-highest run-scorer with just 278 runs in four Test matches. Hence, it is not much surprising that even after such a collosal feat of the skipper, India lost the series by a margin of 1-4.

The Next Cycle

Before the upcoming India-England Test series, we have again reached the same point of timeline, like as during the 2018 Test tour for Virat Kohli. Even if the Indian skipper doesn’t have to prove to anyone about his craftsmanship with willow, his standards and the situation demands him to play the long match-defining innings that he is known for. After a long break imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many cricket fans are looking towards the Test series between India and England, to watch some majestic knocks from the Indian skipper.

Draught of Centuries

As can be gauged from the graph above, Virat Kohli has had a slump in his Test career with some failures on the 2020 New Zealand tour and the Test series against England at home earlier this year. It has been more than one and a half years that Virat smacked a century in Test cricket, which is quite an unfamiliar thing considering Kohli's hunger for runs and standards set by him.

We can see the dry run of Kohli’s century in the above chart; zero centuries from the start of 2020 till now. Even as he played some substantial knocks on the 2020 Australia tour and England Test series at home in 2021, he couldn’t touch the three-figure mark in any of the innings.

Even if the draught of his centuries in international cricket is the major talking point in the cricket fraternity, it is also true that he played a less amount of cricket after the pandemic hit cricket activities in the last two years.

He took part in only eight Tests since the day of his last Test century, which happened to be the first Pink ball test that India played in November 2019 against Bangladesh. Frankly speaking, it is not a big period, considering he played a fewer number of matches. So, to draw any conclusion about his batting form would be hasteful. Also, he smacked some vital knocks in Test cricket in the given period.

India vs England: Virat Kohli hasn't scored a single century in last one and a half years. Ind vs Eng first test match starts from 4th August.
Virat Kohli hasn't scored a single century in last one and a half years. (Image: BCCI)

James Anderson vs Virat Kohli

The upcoming India-England Test series will be a herculean task for captain Virat Kohli and the Indian team. Premier pacer of England, James Anderson might be in a late stage of his career but he is still the biggest nemesis of Virat Kohli.

As we can see in the following chart, Anderson picked the wicket of Kohli four times in the 2014 India-England Test series, but he couldn’t penetrate Kohli’s defences even a single time in the 2018 Test series, due to the batsman’s patient yet efficient batting.

Another veteran pacer Stuart Broad scalped Kohli twice in each Test series in England. Among the English pacers in the chart below, only Anderson, Broad, Sam Curran and all-rounder Ben Stokes will play against India in the upcoming Test series. Kohli and company will also have to face some new speedsters, Mark Wood and Ollie Robinson in their favourable conditions.

If Virat Kohli wants to repeat his astronomical feat of the 2018 England tour, he has to wield his willow with patience and perseverance. He should take a leaf from his masterclass in 2018 to get success in this uphill series against England.

It is a no-brainer to assume that England will pose a stiff challenge in front of Kohli through a menacing swing bowling attack. The Indian skipper should not waft his blade at anything that could be left alone on swing-friendly pitches in England.

If Virat Kohli can repeat his towering feat of the previous England tour, India will have a rare opportunity to defeat England in their den. Maybe it will be the last time, that legends of the game Kohli and Anderson will come face to face in the toughest format of the game. So, cricket fans will sit back and enjoy the most enthralling game of cricket in the upcoming five-match India England Test Series 2021 starting from August 4 at Trent Bridge in Nottingham.


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