New Delhi: Indian skipper Virat Kohli singlehandedly led the visitors in the first Test against England at Edgbaston in either of the innings. He scored an epic 149 in the first innings to revive India’s faltering score before adding 51 in the second, but both went in vain following lack of support from teammates in the match. And ergo, Kohli’s heroics went in vain as England registered a 31-run victory to go 1-0 up in the five-match series. This was not for the first time that Kohli had waged a lone battle under hostile conditions against the opposition. Edgbaston episode was the third in his career. In fact, much of his struggle on foreign soil can be compared to Sachin Tendulkar.
Kohli scored 200 runs as against the rest of the team scoring 214 runs. Kohli scored around 45 per cent of the Indian runs, 22 per cent of the total score made at Edgbaston. In fact, his top-four batters of the team – Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane accounted for a total of 99 runs in the match. Lack of support from his batters and India succumbed to English comeback on the fourth morning of the first Test.
Moments after the match, ESPN Cricinfo came up with a stat picture that compared Kohli and Sachin and their troubles on overseas tours with the header ‘One-man armies’.
Just like Kohli, Sachin had incurred a similar problem during the 90s. In the ten-year period between November 1991 and December 2001, Sachin participated in 23 Test matches on tours of Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa. He scored 1991 runs at an average of 52.39 that included nine centuries, and makes his run contribution towards team as 20.2 per cent of the total runs ramped up. Kohli, during the period of December 2013 till now, he played 17 matches to score 1798 runs at an average of 54.85 which included eight centuries, and run contribution towards team is same as that of Sachin’s – 20.2 per cent of the total runs. His top-seven batters averaged 28.13 implying that Kohli averaged 1.94 times more than the top-order lineup.
During those 23 matches that Sachin played on foreign soil, India failed to bag victory in any of them, registering a win-loss record of 0-13. On the contrary, Kohli’s India won two matches in the times period while losing 10 others.
Despite Kohli being slightly ahead of him in terms of average and on the verge of overhauling the great, Sachin was a bit more consistent than his younger compatriot. Sachin had at least one century in each of the tours he featured at. But for Kohli, his 2014 England tour has been that dark patch on his glittered career even on overseas tours.
However, pressure on Tendulkar to perform well on overseas reduced by margins with the emergence of Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Sourav Ganguly, Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag from 2002. From there on, Sachin played 34 Tests more with his average remaining above 50 per cent, and his contribution to team’s total reduced to 16.67.
Kohli too needs a similar support from his teammates in upcoming Test matches. They still have four more to go in the series against England.