With the standards Virat Kohli has set with his imperious run-scoring in recent years, any patch of games without centuries is perceived as a slump. The Indian captain’s run in the limited-overs series against New Zealand is an example of how a string of low scores, with just one fifty in the tour so far, translates to questions about his form abroad.
In the third One-day International in Mount Maunganui on Tuesday, Kohli was dismissed on 9 off 12 after New Zealand put the visitors in to bowl, making it his least prolific bilateral ODI series as a captain. In the first ODI, he had scored 51, his first half-century on the tour, while he was dismissed for 15 in the next. India lost both matches and the series.
He didn’t go beyond 45 in the four Twenty20 Internationals he played as well, even as India won the series. in January, the Indian captain had scored back-to-back ODI fifties in Australia’s ODI tour of India.
There have also been questions about his conversion rate since the end of the World Cup. He has only scored two centuries since then – both against the West Indies in August.
Here’s a look at Kohli’s numbers from the limited overs leg of the New Zealand tour:
Kohli's runs in New Zealand 2020
|First T20I||45||32||India won by 6 wickets|
|Second T20I||11||12||India won by 7 wickets|
|Third T20I||38||27||India won Super Over after match tied|
|Fourth T20I||11||9||India won Super Over after match tied|
|First ODI||51||63|| New Zealand won by 4 wickets |
|Second ODI||15||25||New Zealand won by 22 runs|
|Third ODI||9||12||New Zealand won by 5 wickets|
The numbers wouldn’t read as bad, with his contributions in the successful run chase in the first match. However, given Kohli’s usual stats, the average and the lack of centuries – stretching back to the series against West Indies – seems to be stark.
Of course, given that the ODIs are a series to bookend the Test series, part of the ICC Championship, and the T20Is, which are crucial practise for the T20 World Cup in Australia later in the year and the implications of a loss are not much.
The Indian captain could well peak in the five-day format starting soon and set the record straight. But till then, the numbers say that Kohli is not in his best touch.