NEW DELHI: The chorus of voices calling for Virat Kohli to be removed from India’s T20 squad eventually, with the T20 World Cup around the corner, has been slowly increasing over the past few weeks. This is something that was unfathomable just a few months ago. Team India’s current policy of resting players frequently in line with their workload management philosophy is also under scrutiny.
Kohli, India’s modern running machine, with 23,693 international runs in all formats at a career average of 53.72 is the only hitter with a career average of over 50 among the top run-getters in the world. Even the great Sachin Tendulkar, who tops the overall international run list with 34,357 runs, had a career average of 48.52. Kohli has also already scored 70 international hundreds (43 in ODI and 27 in Tests) and he did so in 2019. He is only third behind Ricky Ponting (71) and Tendulkar (100) on the list of most centuries. international, before the ongoing lean run began at the turn of the new decade. For a long time, he averaged over 50 in all three formats – a feat that speaks volumes about the former India captain’s prolivity over the years. Even now, Virat averages above 50 in ODIs and T20Is.
But as great players are judged more harshly when going through dry spells thanks to the height they set the bar themselves, Virat found himself in the eye of a storm of criticism. Keeping a place in the playing XI reserved, when talented youngsters regularly succeed when given a chance, is something that cannot be justified for very long.

(AFP photo)
Amid this prolonged drought, former World Cup-winning India captain Kapil Dev has joined critics, who are calling for Kohli’s head, to express that Kohli is no longer indispensable in the T20Is, adding that Kohli currently looks like a shadow of himself. It has even prompted current India skipper Rohit Sharma to openly back Kohli, saying the quality of the star hitter cannot be questioned.
His frequent rest from bilateral series, such as the recently concluded T20I series against Ireland and the upcoming West Indies ODIs, has also given ammunition to critics, who question the logic behind it. And the good form of players like Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, etc. also put pressure on Kohli’s position in the T20 squad’s starting XI, especially with a T20 World Cup coming up.
Kohli’s failure to add a hundred more to his 70 Century roster since November 2019 has been one of the most hotly debated hot topics in the world of cricket for the past year or so. But that’s not the only downside of this prolonged drought for Kohli. His overall career record has been quite dented by below-average performances, by the high standards he has set for himself, since the start of 2020.
For example, Kohli’s batting average in Tests since 2020 (27.25) is less than half of his average at the end of 2019 (59.84) and that has pushed his career Test numbers below. of 50.
Here, dives into Kohli’s batting records for a quick comparison – before the lean patch and during the two and a half years of barren running, to check how badly his overall career stats across all formats have been affected. and to verify how well the call for the ax of the Indian team T20 is supported by data.


(Virat Kohli and Indian coach Rahul Dravid – AP Photo)
Testing record suffered the most
Kohli’s biggest form slump is in the format he loves the most – Test cricket. It all started in 2020, which was Kohli’s worst in the game’s longest format as he managed to score with a meager 19.33 average over six innings.
Since the start of 2020, Kohli had arguably endured his toughest phase as a Test hitter. It’s not just that hundreds have escaped the Indian run-machine, its overall performance has literally taken a nosedive.
At the end of 2019, the then India captain was at the peak of his career, scoring 7,202 points in 84 Tests with a career average of 54.97. This included 27 hundreds, the last of which was scored in November 2019, and 28 fifty.
But since 2020, Virat has played 18 Tests and only managed to score 872 runs @ 27.25 with six half-centuries. His batting average has dropped 27.72 runs over the past two and a half years. And that dropped his career average to 49.53, below 50, after a long stretch.


Sachin’s ODI records currently look out of reach for Virat
For many years, Kohli was considered the batter capable of breaking the colossal ODI records set by Tendulkar. And the way he was progressing, the records were within reach before his races dried up at the turn of the decade.
Until 2019, Kohli was scoring in ODIs at a phenomenal near 60 average, racking up 11,609 points @ 59.84 in 242 games with 43 hundreds and 55 fifty assists.
As in Testing, Kohli’s form in the ODIs has also deteriorated over the past two and a half years. Since 2020, Kohli has played in 18 ODIs and added a further 702 points to take his tally to 12,311. But his runs over that period came in at a below average 39.00, by his own high standards.
A drop of more than 20 runs on average during this period from the high of late 2019 has caused his overall ODI batting average to drop to 58.07. This is an overall drop of just 1.77 points, thanks to excellent ODI statistics ahead of this prolonged drought.

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The T20 record is still quite good
The format in which its drop has been the smallest is the shortest format in the game – Twenty20 Internationals. And it is in this format that critics want Kohli left out of the Indian national team.
The former Indian skipper has scored his runs at an average of 42.18 since 2020, racking up 675 runs in 24 T20Is while hitting six fifties. With a strike rate of 136, it’s still a very good disc in the format.
But such were his exploits with the bat before this period that it is a drop of more than 10 points on average from the peak of 2,633 runs in 75 matches to an average of 52.66, including 24 in his 50s , end of 2019.
But the big dive only slashed his overall career-high average by just 2.5 runs, while keeping his batting average above 50 at 50.12.
Kohli has so far played 99 T20Is for the Men in Blue, scoring 3308 points with the help of 30 50-year-olds. And as his followers and well-wishers keep saying, he’s just one big shot away from regaining his lost touch and form.


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