After inspiring India to its first ever Test series triumph and the maiden bilateral ODI series win in Australia, Indian skipper Virat Kohli added another milestone in his list of achievements on the 22 yards of cricket glory. Kohli was in ravishing form throughout in 2018 amassing 1,322 runs in 13 Tests at an average of 55.08 with five hundreds while in 14 ODIs, he compiled 1,202 runs at an astonishing average of 133.55 with six hundred-plus scores. This was the second year on a trot that the modern-day great of the game has scored more than a 1,000 runs in a calendar year in both Test and ODI formats. However, in comparison to previous years, the stupendous run of 2018 rates as a great record because out of the 13 Tests he featured in, 11 were in tough overseas conditions of South Africa, England and Australia. Often criticised as a flat track bully because a majority of his big scores has come on the Indian subcontinent, Virat demolished the jinx of poor performance in England and despite India suffering a humiliating defeat of 1-4 in five-match series last summer, he emerged as the highest run scorer with 593 runs in 10 innings, consisting of two tons and three 50-plus scores. In South Africa in the three-match series, he was the combined highest run scorer with 286 runs in six innings. And in the year-ender series Down Under, though Cheteshwar Pujara and the Indian pace attack were the highlights of India’s historic triumph, it was skipper Kohli who stood tall against the on-fire Australian attack in tough Perth conditions and scored centuries to keep India in the game. And if he was not given out controversially at the slips, the situation could have been vastly different.
Not only in the five-day format of the game, the talismanic skipper, who is now just 10 short of Sachin Tendulkar’s record of most hundreds in ODI cricket, was in a completely different zone in the limited overs format. He started his campaign against South Africa in their home ground and amassed 558 runs in just six innings at an astonishing average of 186.00 and a strike rate of 99.47, which was a fair indication that he doesn’t play too many dot balls. During the series, he scored three centuries and one 50-plus score and successfully led India to the 5-1 win in the six-match series. And after opting out of the Nidhas Trophy and returning in the England series, he was only second behind England’s Joe Root with 191 runs and two half-centuries in three games. Then again after missing Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates, he returned to lead the Men in Blue in the home series against West Indies and scored three back to back hundreds in the first three matches, topping the chart of highest run scorer with 453 runs in five matches at an average of 151. While in between these two formats, he featured in 10 Twenty 20 games, three each in three overseas tours of the team and one against Ireland. His unbeaten 61 in the final T20 at Sydney helped India chase down 165 runs and level series 1-1. Though India wasn’t able to win the Test series in England and South Africa, it was Virat’s impressive leadership that took his side close in most of the games. If any other batsman had stepped in to help Virat, the results could have been different.
Writer and Courtesy: The Pioneer