As India gets its new World Test Championship (WTC) cycle underway from Wednesday in the first Test against West Indies in Dominica, talismanic batter Virat Kohli will have an opportunity to regain his form in the longest format of the game.
Though Kohli ended his four-year Test century drought with a classy 186 against Australia in Ahmedabad during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in March, that remains his only noteworthy score in the five Tests he has played in 2023. Other than consistent form in Test cricket, an average of 50 or more in the longest format is also something that has eluded Kohli of late.
While the all-format star averages a staggering 57.32 and 52.73 in ODIs and T20Is, respectively, his Test average has dipped to 48.72. That last time he averaged in excess of 50 was after the Mohali Test against Sri Lanka in March 2022, which was also his landmark 100th game in the format. Scores of 23 and 13 in the pink-ball Test in Bengaluru meant his average dipped below 50 for the first time since 2017.
However, the two-matches Test series in West Indies presents Kohli with a golden opportunity to reclaim the distinction of averaging 50 or more across formats.
WHAT KOHLI NEEDS TO DO TO CLIMB MT. 50 IN WEST INDIES
The former India captain will have to score a minimum of 221 runs in the series to haul his career average back to 50 in the longest format. However, this tally will only be sufficient if he remains undismissed throughout the series – which is unlikely considering his position in the line-up.
If he is dismissed only once, a series haul of 271 runs will suffice. In case he is dismissed on two occasions in the series, he will need 321 runs, 371 if out three times and a whopping 421 if he is dismissed in all the four innings.
The most runs scored by an Indian in a two-match Test series is 432 by Rahul Dravid against Zimbabwe in 2000, followed by Sachin Tendulkar, who scored 403 runs against Australia in 2010.
HOW THE NUMBERS STACK UP FOR KOHLI IN WEST INDIES
Despite India’s dominance in the Caribbean in Tests (undefeated since 2002), West Indies hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Kohli. He averages 35.61 in nine Tests and has a lower average only in Bangladesh and England.
Kohli Test stats in West Indies
The last time India toured West Indies for two Tests was in 2019, Kohli managed only 136 runs in four innings at 34.00 and hit two fifties. However, in the four-match series in 2016, Kohli was the top-scorer with 251 runs in four innings at 62.75 and also hit his only Test hundred in the country.
West Indies is also where Kohli made his Test debut in 2011 and he had a rough initiation to the longest format, scoring just 76 runs in five innings at an average of 15.20 and a top score of 30.
As the 34-year-old returns to the Caribbean, 12 years after his debut and four years since his last visit, he will have a record to mend, a ‘50’ to get and a point to prove as the future tacitly points to an inevitable transition as the new WTC cycle beckons.
- ISL 2023-24: Injury-hit Kerala Blasters hosts FC Goa as both teams look to regain winning touch
- RCB vs UPW Live Score, WPL 2024: Meghana, Richa half-centuries help Royal Challengers Bangalore set Warriorz target of 158
- IND vs ENG Test series: Bazball is not about being arrogant but bringing the best out of team says Joe Root
- ISL 2023-24: Odisha FC and Mohun Bagan SG play out goalless draw; maintain top-of-table excitement
- WFI says wrestling trials for Asian Championships and Olympic qualifier will be held on March 10, 11