Virat Kohli’s epoch-making test innings may not be too far away

A player's inability to single-handedly win team games can't be decisive to judge his or her greatness.

 |  3-minute read |   07-08-2018
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Lara, Tendulkar, Messi, Ronaldo.

Geniuses from two different sports left incredibly difficult challenges — to do a solo act and win matches. On special days, when they find their zones, they prevail with the strength of their individual brilliance.  While a player's inability to single-handedly win team games can't be decisive to judge his or her greatness, the more a player pulls off such wins, his legend grows. Virat Kohli was faced with one such situation in the Edgbaston test.

virat-kohli_080718072903.jpgThe Indian captain is already carrying an average of over 54 in a 67-test career.

If he had managed to take India home in the fourth innings, having scored nearly half the team's runs in two innings against the moving ball, his cricketing stocks would have skyrocketed. Statistically speaking, Virat's test numbers in terms of averages are not even in the all-time top 15 yet. But his all-round game, coupled with his unmatched drive to win, leaves no one in doubt about Virat's march to greatness.

The Indian captain is already carrying an average of over 54 in a 67-test career. Only Steve Smith among the contemporaries has an average over 61 in 64 games. 

Add the numerous limited-over games Virat Kohli has won for India. With the pressure cooker reaching the boiling point, he sits pretty in the 'all format greatness' debate. Whether the absence of a seminal match-winning career innings in the game's toughest format should take away anything from a batsmen's greatness will always remain contentious, but the talk will never go away. Many rate Tendulkar's 136 in the Chennai test against Pakistan in 1999 as his greatest test innings.

virat_080718072930.jpgThe Indian run machine’s epoch-making test innings can’t be too far away.

When the tide was against India and the pressure to save the face against arch-rivals at home was indefinable, Tendulkar with an injured back came within 16 runs of the target.

After he was dismissed, India folded up as Wasim Akram's Pakistan burst into wild celebrations leaving the crowd stunned. Tendulkar remained a tragic hero that day.

Tendulkar scored many counter-attacking hundreds in England and Australia early in his career and many of his 51 test tons were high quality. But a superhuman winning effort like his desert storm innings at ODIs in Sharjah in 1998 was not to be for him in test cricket. 

Brian Lara had his moment in the Bridgetown test of 1999 with his 153 not out in the fourth innings, helping a limited West Indies outfit prevail over mighty Australia. VVS Laxman’s 281 at Kolkata against Australia in 2001 will never be forgotten. 

Given India’s batting limitations in test cricket overseas and Virat Kohli proving repeatedly that his run-scoring spree is not a mere purple patch, the Indian run machine’s epoch-making test innings can’t be too far away.

Also read: When Virat Kohli pulled off a Sachin Tendulkar

Writer

Rasesh Mandani Rasesh Mandani @rkmrasesh

Broadcast journalist. A sports buff. Honest human being.

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