ROHIT SANKAR | 18 JANUARY, 2018
Virat Kohli And His Penchant For Daddy Hundreds
How good is Kohli in the traditional, purist’s format of test cricket?
When you talk of modern day greats in the cricketing world, it is hard to ignore the hard-faced, emotional, expressive, aggressive Indian skipper, Virat Kohli. With his bullish self-belief and immense talent, Kohli has set alight Indian cricket after it mourned the retirement of a certain Sachin Tendulkar.
Kohli, the One Day International batsman, is an unmistakable genius. But what about his Test batting? After all, the true test of any batsman is said to be Test cricket. How good is Kohli in the traditional, purist’s format?
A lot of these questions were answered at Centurion when the Indian skipper stood tall against a four-pronged South African seam attack that reeked of aggression. Not a single other Indian batsman crossed the half-century mark while Kohli had 153 to his name.
The score racked up brings us to a rather curious debate. All of Virat Kohli's last eight hundreds (where he wasn't not-out) have been converted into 150+ scores. Now, that is unique...quite unique. Add to that the fact that the Indian skipper has had just one score of 150+ in his first eleven Test hundreds and you see the evolution he has had over the past few years.
From a genius who scored hundreds, Kohli has evolved into a Test batsman who hates to get out after his hundreds. Statistical studies show that a batsman is more likely to get out between 100 and 105 than he is between 90 and 100. It shows that batsmen tend to relax, almost forget that this is a team game once they cross the three figure mark.
Not Kohli, though. For him hundreds won't do. He likes the upstate - making daddy hundreds. But before get there, it is important to know how humungous Kohli’s eight scores of 150+ in last 10 hundred and above scores is.
559604 runs have been scored in innings’ of hundred or more in Test cricket. There have
been 4061 Test hundreds so far, including all the double, triple and Lara’s magnanimous 400. [Stats as of January 17, 2018]
Now divide these numbers and you get the average score a centurion makes in Test cricket.
Let us round it off to 138.
This virtually means that a par hundred score in Tests is 138. Anything above that falls into the category of daddy hundreds since it has overtaken the average score a centurion makes in this format of the game.
The psychological aspect of batting is vital in this discussion. That batsmen tend to be loose after a landmark is a known fact. It takes immense resolve, hunger and character to carry on after a hundred and not rest until you have done your best for the team.
You are 25.95% more likely to be dismissed between 100-110 after scoring a century. It shows how vulnerable batsmen really are. Those figures, though, are for ordinary batsmen. Kohli transcends the ordinary which is why he belongs to a higher class of Test batsmen.
Now, coming to Kohli, 3161 of his 5459 Test runs have come in centuries. He has 21 of them to his name at the end of the Centurion Test in South Africa.
Divide these two and you 150.52. That is the average score Kohli makes once he gets past his hundred in Test cricket. That is a stupendous number for someone who struggled to get the big hundreds in the first few years of his Test career.
With zero double hundreds to his name till June 2016, Kohli smashed six of them (read that again! SIX of them) in the next 17 months. He wasn't just making big hundreds but really big ones.
To put things better, the Centurion Test was actually an aberration to the recent Virat Kohli. He has 1795 runs in scores of 150 or more in Test cricket (nine times).
This brings his average to a whopping 199.44 in scores of 150 or more. That is near Bradmanesque. For a batsman with truckloads of talent and charisma, scaling down huge hundreds is no big deal. But the sheer weight of those numbers draw you close to the run machine that Virat Kohli is.
It isn't easy to make hundreds in Test cricket, forget 150. To know that he goes upto 199 on an average once he crosses the 150 run mark is near insane. He was unlucky to be at the losing end at Centurion with none of his colleagues standing up and fighting with him. For those who call him a sub-continental bully, Kohli has shown that he is quite a beast in any condition. This 153 is much more than the class and flair he oozed at Supersport Park. It is going against the psychology of cricket batsmen and hundreds - a relation for the ages - in itself.