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Kohli’s poor Test form continues: An average of 26.20 during 2020-22 as against 54.97 during 2011-19

Virat Kohli averages 26.20 in Tests during 2020-22 against 54.97 during 2011-19 period. Virat Kohli's hasn't scored a Test century since last 36 innings. Kohli's poor Test form is cause of concern??

Virat Kohli averages 26.20 in Tests during 2020-22 (Source: ©Getty Images)
Virat Kohli averages 26.20 in Tests during 2020-22 (Source: ©Getty Images)

Year 2022, where tides swinged up, down, low and low again for Mr. Virat Prem Kohli, the greatest all-format batter of this generation, with a batting average of 50+ in both white-ball formats and that of 48.90 in Tests. The year began with the suggestion that Kohli be dropped from all formats because he has reached his peak, and there are better players up the ranks who can take his place.


In a year, Virat Kohli has not only made the most ardent critics retract their articles, but he has also smashed a T20 century after 13 years of playing T20I cricket, an ODI century after 1048 days, and won India matches from the brink of defeat. Everything happened in just 12 months. Insane? Isnt’ it?


While Kohli has proven time and again that he was, is and will be the greatest all-rounder of this generation, there have been cricket pundits raising questions over his place in the side. Though the debate has shifted from T20Is to ODIs to Tests over the months, the topic remains pertinent. One may ask: What’s with everyone targeting Kohli? The answer? The inhuman consistency of Kohli


Read More: Adelaide 2014 twin centuries shining lamp posts of Virat Kohli's career as he plays his 100th Test

Virat Kohli averages 26.20 in Tests during 2020-22  Walking wicket (Source_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Kohli hasn't scored a Test century from last 36 innings (Source: ©BCCI/Twitter)

Virat Kohli: Fine wine or cold beer with an expiration date?

The 34-year-old India veteran is probably past his prime in international cricket. Though he still remains a natural fighter for Team India, He is one of the most experienced players in the Indian setup and a leader within the group, which should stall any debate about his exclusion from the Test setup. Virat Kohli has played 104 Test matches for India, scoring 8119 runs at an average of 48.90 while registering 27 centuries, trailing only Sachin Tendulkar (51), Rahul Dravid (36) and Suni Gavaskar (34). With these numbers in 11 years of Test cricket, Kohli has engraved a name for himself in rose gold colours, to say the least.


Be that as it may, like the saying "A player matures like fine old wine," the case has been reversed with Kohli. Since 2019, Kohli’s Test and overall career have suffered more than the recession rate across the globe being witnessed post-Covid. While Kohli averaged a handsome 54.97 between 2011 and end of 2019, scoring a truckload of 7202 runs in 9 years (141 innings), it has fallen like a pack of cards to just 917 runs in the last three years from the beginning of 2020, where he has featured in 36 innings at an average of 26.20, which is close to a 29 percentage points drop if one compares his average in the 2011–19 period and the corresponding number registered by him in the 2020–22 period.


It is worth noting that Kohli's 27 Test centuries all came between 2011 and 2019, and he has been without a Test century since 2020 (36 innings without a triple-figure score). The only time before 2020 that Kohli has averaged below 23 in his Test playing career was way back in 2011 (22.44). Even during a horrendous 2014 tour of England, Kohli managed to average 44.58 in that year, courtesy his superlative performance against Australia later in the year.


Read More: Captain Kohli's Legacy far bigger than shining trophies and gigantic statistics

India vs England Leeds test, Day 3 highlights_ Virat Kohli's 45_, Puajra's 91_ keep India alive in the game. India were 215_2 at stumps on day 3. (Source_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Pujara was dropped from Tests due to poor form (Source: ©BCCI/Twitter)

Lack of runs - Rahane didn’t evade being dropped & Pujara only just survived

Batter

Mat

Inns

Runs

Avg

HS

NO

100s

50s

0s

Virat Kohli

20

36

917

26.20

79

1

0

6

4

Ajinkya Rahane

19

35

819

24.08

112

1

1

3

4

Cheteshwar Pujara

23

44

1274

30.33

102*

2

1

10

4

The question now is, how many current Indian players would have made the playing eleven regularly, if they hadn't scored a century for Team India for three years? One could well think of an answer and if one talks about batters who have played for India in the past three years, right from number 1 to number 7, from KL Rahul to Ravichandran Ashwin, everyone has scored a century for India in Test cricket between 2020 and 2022.


In fact, Indian selectors and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have gone ahead and dropped Ajinkya Rahane, who has scored 819 runs in 35 innings in the period between January 1, 2020 to December 25, 2022. Rahane scored only one century and three half-centuries in this period but the hundred (112) he scored was as a captain in the absence of Virat Kohli, against Australia in Melbourne Test of the historic Border Gavaskar Trophy 2020-21.


If one goes by numbers, Kohli has the second-poorest average (26.20) after Ajinkya Rahane (24.08) among middle-order batters for India in the last three years. Surprisingly, the other two batters with similar numbers like Kohli in the corresponding period – Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara (30.33) have been dropped from the Test circuit at least once, and have been asked to prove their mettle in the domestic circuit.


In a recent interview, Mumbai’s Ranji skipper Ajinkya Rahane opened up about the drop in averages of Kohli, Pujara and himself due to games at home venues: "If we look at the averages, they have gone down because of the wickets, because as a batter, it is always challenging," he said. "For openers, it is easy, especially in India when the ball is hard. When batters get out, we always think about the mistakes they are committing. But then numbers 3, 4 and 5 – Cheteshwar, Virat and myself - all of our averages have gone down.”


"So, I don't think I was committing any mistakes. Yes, as a player, I always focus on where to improve but every time we don't commit mistakes, sometimes the wickets are such…it's not an excuse but that's the reality. Everyone was watching, so, they know what kind of wickets were prepared in India,” Rahane was quoted speaking to the media.


Even in the recently concluded 2-0 Test series win for India against Bangladesh, Virat Kohli could only manage a total of 45 runs in four innings, not helping India’s cause when his side needed him the most. Though the wrath of poor batting performances has not reached India's prolific run-scorer in the last decade, the selectors and BCCI will be drawing conclusions about King Kohli's lack of Test form sooner than later.


Read More: Kohli as Test captain has 3rd-best win pc of 58.82 behind Steve Waugh (71.93) and Ponting (62.24)