Virat’s worst

Virat Kohli... a forgettable series as a batsman.   -  PTI

The recently-concluded Test series between India and Australia will be remembered for a long time, and for more than one reason. There were exciting matches, high quality cricket, close finishes, and a come-from-behind victory from India. It was the first time since the 2005 Ashes that Australia had lost a Test series after having taken the lead. However, the lasting memories from this series are probably of acrimony and questionable on-field behaviour and off-field comments. While both captains were equally entrenched in the various squabbles, what has been somewhat overlooked is that one of the captains has his best-ever series, while the other had a shocker.

Steven Smith’s three hundreds were the most in a series by a visiting captain in India, while his 499 runs were the second-most for a visiting captain in a series of four or fewer Tests in India. Virat Kohli, on the other hand, scored 46 runs, less than 1/10 of his counterpart, at an abysmal average of 9.20. Including Kohli’s showing in this series, there have been only five instances of an Indian player batting in the top four averaging less than 10 runs per innings in a series.

From Kohli’s perspective, this was the fewest number of runs that he had scored in a Test series (min. two Tests) and this was also his worst batting average in a Test series. But not by much. During India’s tour to England in 2014, Kohli had scored 134 from 10 innings, at an average of 13.40, which is the second worst for a top-four Indian batsman in any series while batting in at least 10 innings.

Worst Batting Average for a Top-4 Indian Batsman in a Test Series (min. 5 inns)

PlayerSeriesMatInnsRunsAveYear
AV MankadIndia in England364271971
P RoyIndia in England47547.711952
W JafferIndia in Australia36498.162007
V KohliAustralia in India35469.22017
V SehwagIndia in South Africa35499.82006

 

In light of the two above-mentioned series, Kohli has now averaged less than 15 in two Test series. In the history of Indian Test cricket, no other top-four batsman has averaged less than 15 in two different series (min. 5 inns). For the context, players like Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid did not average less than 15 in a single Test series throughout their long Test careers.

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Q&A

Based on the success rate of the teams when using the Decision Review System (DRS) during the recent India-Australia Test series, can we conclude if there was any truth in Virat Kohli’s allegations of the Australians regularly seeking assistance from the dressing room when making DRS calls (the “Reviewgate”)?

— Dhananjai Hari, Hyderabad, Telangana

While there can be no conclusive evidence on this, the following information may be interesting. India used the DRS on 23 occasions during the series, with its reviews being upheld six times and struck down 17 times. Australia’s record was — eight upheld and 20 struck down. However, post-Reviewgate, i.e. in the last two Tests, Australia had only one review upheld and 11 struck down. During the first two Tests, it had seven reviews upheld and nine struck down. The difference between Australia’s DRS success rate pre and post Reviewgate is prima facie suspicious, but whether or not this was purely coincidental is for you to decide.

Karun Nair scored a triple century against England and in his next appearance in a Test match, he made a golden duck (i.e. dismissed first ball) against Australia. Has any other batsman made a golden duck after scoring a triple century in his previous Test?

— B. K. Harinath, Mysore, Karnataka

It is true that Karun Nair scored 303 not out against England in Chennai and then made a golden duck in the second innings of his next Test — against Australia, in Bangalore. Nair is in the first batsman known to have scored a golden duck in the Test following the match where he scored a triple century. However, there are two batsmen, John Edrich (England) and Bob Cowper (Australia), who scored ducks immediately, following their triple centuries in 1965 and 1966 respectively. However, since balls-faced data is not available for that period, we can’t ascertain whether those were golden ducks. Separately, Azhar Ali and Brian Lara have also scored ducks in the Test immediately following their triple hundreds, but these were not golden ducks.

Jason Holder seems to play well enough to take his team till the end but just seems unable to finish matches. What is his recent record?

— Wiseroy Damodaran, Thodupuzha, Kerala

Jason Holder has been not out at the end of the West Indies’ chase in T20Is and ODIs (LOIs) on nine occasions, with West Indies losing five of those matches. While he may not have had a realistic opportunity to win all of those matches for his team, this phenomenon has been stark in recent times. In three out of the West Indies’ last six chases in LOIs, Holder has faced the last ball in three of those matches. Each of those three times, he had a realistic opportunity to win the match, as the West Indies needed 1, 3 and 5 runs respectively. However, he failed to hit the winning runs on each occasion.

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