As Virat Kohli and Jayant Yadav batted with the sole purpose of sealing the ongoing Test series against England, little would they have known that they were closing in on an 108-year old record.
Eventually, Yadav would be dismissed for 104 and their eighth-wicket partnership would end on 241, only two short of the 243 piled up by Australians Clem Hill and Roger Hartigan in 1908 in Adelaide, a record for the eighth-wicket against the English in Tests.
Kohli did not get that record, one of the few that he spared en route to a career-high 235, shattering several other records on the way, none more significant than toppling MS Dhoni’s 224 which was the previous highest Test score by an Indian captain.
In the process, the Delhi maestro became the only player in the history of the game to average more than 50 in all three formats and found himself in illustrious company alongside Michael Clarke (four in 2012) and Brendan McCullum (three in 2014) as the only captains to notch up three or more double hundreds in a calendar year.
To put this achievement into context, it is worth noting that Indian captains have only managed four double hundreds in 495 previous Tests.
But Kohli in 2016 was more than just Kohli the test batsman. It was a year in which he terrorised bowlers of all nations in all formats, going way beyond Annus Mirabilis. For Kohli, the year 2016 was Anno Gloria (Magnificient Year in Latin).
In Twenty20 action, a format in which the entire team has only 120 balls to face, Kohli averaged a staggering 106.83. He did not quite hit a hundred in One-Day Internationals, but an average of 92.37 is hardly a laughing matter. He reserved his poorest form for the longest format, only managing an 80. Since his Test debut in 2011, there is no doubt that 2016 was Kohli’s most productive year till date.
He managed an aggregate of 2000 runs or more in a calendar year across all formats for the third time in his career, even eclipsing the highs of 2012 and 2014, managing to shatter the 2,500-run barrier for the first time ever.
He also leads the way in 2016 for most runs scored, closely followed by Joe Root, who could still catch him and David Warner, who is having a wonderful ODI season, having clocked up seven centuries in the format this year. Following these men, predictably are two of the finest batsmen and captains of the two Trans-Tasman rivals, Australia’s Steve Smith and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson.
What the previous graph does not tell us however, is that the Indian captain has played significantly fewer number of innings than all the other gentlemen vying to become 2016’s leading scorer, especially in Tests, where Kohli has played only 17 innings, at least ten fewer than any of the other contenders. As a result, the others can only sit and marvel at his average as he is miles ahead in this statistic when compared to his contemporaries. While there may be batsmen who have played a few good innings and also have high averages, Joe Root had the second-highest runs in 2016 but in comparison with Kohli when it comes to averages, he falls significantly short.
And lastly, coming back to Tests, it is a year in which Kohli has banished any remaining doubts about him being a “limited-overs only” batsman, managing three of the ten highest scores in Tests this year and four of the highest 15. No one else has managed more than one.
As if these stats were not mind-boggling enough, a closer look at his mammoth essays reveal that all three of Kohli’s innings were amongst five of the top ten to have less than half of their runs scored in boundaries (fours and sixes).
The strike rates of his 235 and 200 are the third and fourth highest in the list. Conclusion: Kohli runs a lot, runs very often, runs hard and for long periods of time. The Indian Test captain is as fit as they come, and Kohli the Test batsman is here to stay.