The contrasting tales of captain Kohli

The shambolic performance of RCB against KKR on April 23, gave rise to the inevitable criticism about, among other things, Virat Kohli’s captaincy.

Virat Kohli... tough time as Royal Challengers Bangalore captain.   -  AFP

On April 23, 2017, Royal Challengers Bangalore slumped to one of its worst ever IPL defeats, by 82 runs, after being bowled out for 49 in its chase of 132 against Kolkata Knight Riders. This is the lowest score for any team in IPL history. It was the first instance where none of the batsmen in the team made a score in double digits, and it was the first instance of a team losing by more than 75 runs when chasing a target of less than 150. The shambolic performance gave rise to the inevitable criticism about, among other things, Virat Kohli’s captaincy.

The first table shows that among captains who have led in at least 50 matches in the IPL (there are eight of them), all but one of them have a better record than Kohli. In the 76 matches where Kohli has captained (all for RCB), he has been on the winning side on 37 occasions, and on the losing side on 34, giving him a win percentage of 52.05%. This win percentage, despite RCB having in its ranks players such as AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle and Shane Watson, is the second-worst only to Gilchrist, who has a win percentage of 47.29, with 35 wins from 74 matches, though Gilchrist has led his team (Deccan Chargers) to the IPL title in 2009.

Win Percentage for IPL Captains (min. 50 matches)

PlayerMatWonLostTiedNRWin %
A. C. Gilchrist7435390047.29
V. Kohli7637342352.05
V. Sehwag5328241053.77
S. K. Warne5530241055.45
G. Gambhir11466471058.33
M. S. Dhoni14383590158.45
S. R. Tendulkar5130210058.82
R. G. Sharma6540250061.53

 

This unwanted record is in sharp contrast to Kohil’s Test record, which is among the best ever in Test history. Out of the 26 Tests where Kohli has captained, India has won 16 and lost only 3, with 7 draws. Among captains who had led in at least 20 Tests, Kohli’s win-loss ratio is the best ever.

Best Win-Loss Ratio for Test Captains (min. 20 matches)

CaptainMatWonLostTiedDrawW/L
V. Kohli26163075.33
D. G. Bradman24153065.00
S. R. Waugh57419074.56
J. M. Brearley31184094.50
A. L. Hassett24144063.50

 

Though win-loss ratio is a more relevant statistic than win percentage in Tests (since draws, apart from wins and losses, are also a fairly common occurrence), Kohli’s win percentage of 61.54 is also among the top-five of all time. Only time will tell which of these two Kohlis is the real captain!

Q&A
  • During the coverage of Pakistan’s current series in the West Indies, I heard that India is among those countries with the worst Test record in the West Indies. Is this true?
  • — Sharan Radhakrishnan, Hyderabad, Telangana
  • Prior to India’s last Test series in West Indies in July 2016, India had played 45 Tests in West Indies, won 5 and lost 16 with 24 draws, making its win-loss ratio of 0.31 the worst for any team when playing in the West Indies, except Zimbabwe, which had lost 4 out 4 Tests in the West Indies. However, since winning its last series, in 2016, by a 2-0 margin, India’s win-loss ratio has improved slightly to 0.44, making it the third-worst, above Sri Lanka (0.33). Pakistan’s win-loss ratio of 0.45, with 5 wins and 11 loses from 23 Tests, is only slightly better.
  • Younis Khan recently scored his 10,000th run in Tests, making him the first Pakistani to do so. Which Test nations still don’t have a single player who has scored 10,000 runs?
  • — Wiseroy Damodaran, Thodupuzha, Kerala
  • With Younis Khan joining the club, at least one player from seven different countries has made 10,000 runs — India, Australia, West Indies, England, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and South Africa. Therefore, the three Test nations without a single member in the 10,000-run club are New Zealand, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Also, the likelihood of any batsman from these countries scoring 10,000 Test runs in the near future is very low, because the current player from these countries closest to achieving this mark is Ross Taylor, who has only scored 6030 runs.
  • Royal Challengers Bangalore seems to be having a horrible IPL 2017. Has any of its batsmen scored more runs than even Sunil Narine?
  • — Bhavapriyan Gurumurthy, New Delhi
  • Kolkata Knight Riders’ experiment to have its star bowler Sunil Narine open the batting has been quite successful, with Narine scoring 121 runs in this IPL, including some 30s and 40s, at a rapid strike rate of 189.06. While Narine has not scored more than RCB’s top-four, he’s not off the mark by too much. RCB’s top four run-getters in this IPL are Kedar Jadhav (175 runs), Virat Kohli (154), AB de Villiers (145) and Chris Gayle (144). Jadhav’s strike rate of 159.09 is the best of these four, making Narine’s strike rate of 189.06 better than all of them.
  • Readers may send in their queries to [email protected] or [email protected]