by Aravind Mani
The battle for the status of the best batsmen in the Indian Test line up is clearly between two of the very best – Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara. Both the batsmen are in the Top 10 of the world rankings, while Kohli is in 5th position, Pujara climbed to 3rd position after his knock of 133 in his 50th Test match against Sri Lanka. Pujara’s batting is widely a picture of contrast in comparison to Kohli, where Pujara is calm and Kohli is aggressive. Pujara played his first match against Australia in 2010, while Kohli mae his debut in 2011 against West Indies. Pujara made his mark in the very first Test match by scoring 72 runs and India won the match whereas Kohli just scored 4 runs and was unable to make a mark in his first match but performed well later on. Here is an in-depth analysis on Pujara and Kohli
OVERALL TEST FIGURES
Pujara averaged just 26 and 2 in 2010 and 2011, his average increased above 75 in the following two years. In 2014 his average dipped to 24.15 and he managed to average 50 plus in each calendar year ever since then. In 7 matches this year he has scored 843 runs at an average of 76.64 which also makes him the first batsmen to cross 800 runs this season
Kohli’s started to rise after 2011, in which he averaged just 22.44. Since 2012, he has averaged in excess of 45. He has 4 double centuries and 17 centuries to his name. He averages 49.63 per innings and is one of the finest batsmen India has produced in recent times.
Performance in Home and Away matches
Pujara has an impressive record with an average of 63.57 at home and his average in away matches is 39.45. However Kohli has been sensational at home with an average of 55.02 and an incredible average of 45.2 away. Kohli has 10 centuries away from home out of the 17 centuries he scored, whereas Pujara has just 4 centuries away and 9 centuries at home.
Performance of Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara’s averages in different countries
|PLAYER||IN SA||IN ENG||IN AUS||IN WI||IN NZ||IN IND||IN SUBCONTINENT
A true Test player’s skills are measured when he plays under pressure in away conditions. If any batsmen gives the same performances when he is away from the comfort of his home ground, he will be considered as the best batsmen.
Kohli has plenty of centuries in away Tests whereas Pujara has a lot of centuries at home. Kohli averages 68, 62 and 71.33 in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand respectively, But in England his average is 13.4 which has been a stumbling block for him as he has the tendency to get out to the short ball. In the sub-continent and West Indies his averages are pretty decent at 40.66 and 36.33.
However, Pujara’s averages are shocking in England, New Zealand and West Indies where he averages less than 31. Against Australia he averages 55.05 at home which dips down to 33.50 at away. Even against England his average of 22.20 at England is in contrast to his average of 46.13 in home against them. His superb performances have mainly come in India and Sri Lanka, with 3 of his 4 overseas hundreds being scored in Sri Lanka.
Averages of Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara in different phase of the match
|PLAYER||1ST INNINGS||2ND INNINGS||3RD INNINGS||4TH INNINGS|
Pujara averages more in the first innings. His averages steadily dips as the innings progresses. Out of his seven centuries in first innings, only one has resulted in defeat. He has batted in the fourth innings 15 times in which 4 has ended in a loss.
As for Kohli his averages are 60 plus in the 2nd and 4th innings of the match. In the 4th innings of the match he has scored one century in 10 innings and that match ended in a loss.
Contribution in Wins and Draws
The value of a player depends on whether he is able to guide his team to win or end the match in draw.
Averages of Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli in wins/draws
Out of 50 matches that Pujara has played, only 10 have ended in a loss, all the rest have been either won or drawn. He has averaged 62.42 when the team has won.
Out of 59 matches that Kohli has played, only 15 matches have ended in a loss. He contributes more in the 4th innings of match which is 92.6. In overall wins or draws, he averages 57.49. Out of Kohli’s 13 centuries in wins or draws, six have been scored overseas.
It is often difficult to conclude the comparisons based on just numbers. As from the analysis we can see Kohli is incredible on away pitches except England whereas Pujara is incredible at home. Even though an overall conclusion can’t be made by just looking at this stats, since they have played matches in different kind of situations.one thing is clear that the two players have definitely cemented themselves one of the watch out players in the coming years and can be considered as the greats of the future.