Once upon a time, Virat Kohli was labelled the greatest Indian batter since the legendary Sachin Tendulkar. Now, he’s officially a mediocre international player.
Granted, a mediocre international player still makes him far better than the average bloke puttering about on some local park, but not all that impressive compared to his peers. And certainly not compared to the likes of Marnus Labuschagne, Usman Khawaja, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, and plenty more, who he was significantly better than not too long ago.
Before all of India buys pitchforks and tries to dox me, the numbers unequivocally prove it. Last week, the International Cricket Council updated its Test batter rankings. Kohli slipped from 10th to 13th — the first time he’s drifted outside the Top 10 since 2016. Even teammate Rishabh Pant is eight spots higher than him.
Kohli has not scored an international century since November 2019. Let that sink in. Almost three years ago. In that time, he’s batted on 32 occasions in Tests and 21 times in one-day internationals. That’s 53 attempts in formats where he always has time to reach three figures without mission success.
Since November 2019, Kohli averages 27 in Tests. For context, that’s barely good enough to have him in the team, let alone at #4. Ian Healy averaged more in his career than Kohli has across the last three years. And in April, Kohli played his 100th consecutive competitive game without scoring a century, which includes T20Is and 37 Indian Premier League matches.
The only reason Kohli is still on the team is because he’s recorded so many runs on the board – pardon the pun – in years gone past. To think that between January 2016 and November 2019, he smashed 36 centuries and seven double tons perfectly illustrates his fall from grace.
At 33, he has time to turn it around. Although one tends to wonder how long the Indians will remain patient. Until then, the headline stands. Virat Kohli is a mediocre international cricketer.