Don’t worry Virat, batting failures happen to the best (Part 1)

Kersi Meher-Homji Columnist

By Kersi Meher-Homji, Kersi Meher-Homji is a Roar Expert

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    India’s captain and master batsman, Virat Kohli with 4497 runs at 49.90 in 56 Tests, is passing through a rough patch against Australia.

    In the current series, he has managed a measly 46 runs at a Glenn McGrath-like batting average of 9.20.

    He started off with a duck and 13 in the first Test in Pune, followed by 12 and 15 in Bengaluru in the second Test, and 6 in the first innings of the current Ranchi Test.

    It may comfort Kohli and his supporters to learn that great batsmen in the past have also experienced such lean trots.

    Australia’s magnificent batsman Greg Chappell passed through a much worse phase in 1981-82, when he made seven ducks in 15 internationals, including four zeroes in a row.

    Like Kohli’s case, it was quite inexplicable, because Chappell had started the season with a sparkling 162 (20 fours and two sixes) in the opening match for Queensland against Pakistan in Brisbane, and a brilliant 201 (22 fours) in the Brisbane Test facing the bowling of Imran Khan and Sarfraz Nawaz, in November 1981.

    But then the wheels fell off.

    In 15 consecutive international innings (including five innings in three Tests) Chappell struggled to 214 runs at 14.26, with two 50s (top score 61) and seven ducks. He was dismissed first ball three times, twice in Test matches.

    In five consecutive Test innings within 23 days from December 15 1981 to January 6 1982, he scored just 18 runs (0, 0, 6, 12 and 0) at a BS Chandrasekhar-like average of 3.60.

    Cartoonists had a field day depicting Chappell’s plight and a poster on the first day of the Sydney Test against West Indies on January 30, 1982 read: “Everyone got turkey for Christmas, our Greg got four ducks”.

    Chappell answered them with 61 and 7.

    He recovered his form sufficiently in New Zealand with a masterly 176 (off 218 balls with two sixes and 23 fours) in the Christchurch Test two months later.

    Class always tells.

    And in his final Test appearance, against Pakistan in Sydney in January 1984, he scored a scintillating 182 (off 400 balls with 17 fours), becoming the sixth player to amass 7000 runs in the Test arena. He also exceeded Don Bradman’s Australian Test record of 6996 runs.

    Chappell became the first player to hit a century in his first and last Test innings. He also broke Colin Cowdrey’s record of 120 catches in Test matches by a non-wicket-keeper.

    He ended with 7110 runs at 53.86 in 87 Tests, 24 centuries (highest 247 not out), 47 wickets and 122 catches.

    Greg Chappell’s bad patch in 1981-82 in internationals in 15 successive internationals should be a consolation for Virat Kohli. Low scoring spells happen to the best players and there is life after ducks and low scores.

    Part 2 will detail low-scoring sprees by top Test batsmen Kim Hughes, Mark Waugh and Mark Taylor.

    Kersi Meher-Homji
    Kersi Meher-Homji

    Kersi is an author of 13 cricket books including The Waugh Twins, Cricket's Great All-rounders,Six Appeal and Nervous Nineties. He writes regularly for Inside Cricket and other publications. He has recently finished his new book on Cricket's Conflicts and Controversies, with a foreword by Greg Chappell.

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    The Crowd Says (23)

    • March 21st 2017 @ 1:33am
      Derek Murray said | March 21st 2017 @ 1:33am | ! Report

      To hell with that Kersi. Worry Virat, worry. And fail again please.

      • March 21st 2017 @ 9:17am
        Kersi Meher-Homji said | March 21st 2017 @ 9:17am | ! Report

        Derek, Bakkies, Peebo, Hatred from enemies is the best compliment for a war hero. Virat is more Aussie than Indian in his on-field behavior.

        • March 21st 2017 @ 10:23am
          Derek Murray said | March 21st 2017 @ 10:23am | ! Report

          I don’t think my comment implied hatred. I’m not a fan of him as a person but I respect him as a player very much and would thus hope he worries and then fails again. He’s a great batsman and if he fails we’re a better chance to win. Simple enough.

        • March 21st 2017 @ 12:06pm
          Ouch said | March 21st 2017 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

          Oh, so kohli is now a war hero? Get a grip.

          “Virat is more Aussie than Indian in his on-field behavior.”

          Yes, yes. Seen this assertion trotted out by indian fans countless times and it’s bollocks.

          • Roar Guru

            March 21st 2017 @ 5:41pm
            Anindya Dutta said | March 21st 2017 @ 5:41pm | ! Report

            @Ouch – admit it. You love him so much your heart aches because he doesn’t give a hoot about your daily rant. But I am sure we shall all miss it after this series, even if he doesn’t. And Keep ranting mate so you don’t explode with all the angst inside you!

    • March 21st 2017 @ 2:29am
      Bakkies said | March 21st 2017 @ 2:29am | ! Report

      Long may it continue

      • March 21st 2017 @ 7:38am
        Peebo said | March 21st 2017 @ 7:38am | ! Report

        +1. It’ll sure wipe that smirk off his face.

    • March 21st 2017 @ 3:24am
      SonOfLordy said | March 21st 2017 @ 3:24am | ! Report

      Kohli’s the best in the world across all three formats. Creates opportunities in the field by getting under the skin of the Aussies too. Causes mental disintegration as Steve Waugh calls it.

      The shoe is on the other foot with Kohli being aggressive and intimidating in the field, while Steve Smith has turned ultra defensive, conservative, overly cautious and very passive.

      I get the feeling that the Indian players would go into battle for Kohli. He’s a real players captain.

      Steve Smith on the other hand is preoccupied with undermining his own troops (such as Maxwell) every opportunity he gets.

      • March 21st 2017 @ 9:28am
        Matting wicket said | March 21st 2017 @ 9:28am | ! Report

        The only mental disintegration Kholi has caused is his own. How long can a leader continue to act like a spoilt school kid?

      • March 21st 2017 @ 10:56am
        Schmergen Burgen said | March 21st 2017 @ 10:56am | ! Report

        I agree SonOfLordy, with an average of 74, a high score of 178*, and having scored 2 of the 4 centuries in the series, Smith really is being outclassed by Kohli’s average of 9.2, highest score of 15 and one century (being the number of balls he has faced in 5 innings).

        Sure he has done well at prancing around like a peacock making sure the cameras follow his every move to the point that even the umpires are telling him to shake hands and finish the match because its getting ridiculous. But I suspect his team mates would be more inspired by actions with the bat than with the mouth.

        • March 21st 2017 @ 5:15pm
          ThugbyFan said | March 21st 2017 @ 5:15pm | ! Report

          Getting the India TV feed on Foxtel, I am flabbergasted at the massive love and incessant “sneak” cams to the deity “war hero” by all the commentators. Even Michael Clarke is brown-nosing with the mega superlatives, to keep his job there I guess.

          It wouldn’t surprise me to see a cam in VK’s special loo (no plebs allowed), with a running commentary as he strains to do a “Renshaw” and get some runs under his belt. 🙂

      • March 21st 2017 @ 12:01pm
        Ouch said | March 21st 2017 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

        “He’s a real players captain.”

        This is too funny. Yeh, a real players captain who sits in the sir conditioned players box while his troops are out toiling in the heat. Maybe you’re referring to his leading of his troops by setting an example with the bat? Oops, no that was Steve Smith.

        • March 21st 2017 @ 3:06pm
          Baz said | March 21st 2017 @ 3:06pm | ! Report

          i dont like him but if your injuried and cant field no point being out there

          • Roar Guru

            March 21st 2017 @ 5:43pm
            Anindya Dutta said | March 21st 2017 @ 5:43pm | ! Report

            Don’t worry logic has never been a strong point for our commentator here.

    • Roar Guru

      March 21st 2017 @ 5:48pm
      Anindya Dutta said | March 21st 2017 @ 5:48pm | ! Report

      Nice one Kersi. Indeed all great batsmen go through these patches. And the Greg Chappell patch is a great example.

      I hope you get some people commenting on this piece on its merit and looking at the point you are trying to make rather than the bunch spewing their venom on Kohli which is their daily chore. He has managed to get under the skin thought, hasn’t he? ?

      • March 21st 2017 @ 8:34pm
        John Erichsen said | March 21st 2017 @ 8:34pm | ! Report

        It’s very true that few batsmen, even the very best of them, don’t at some stage experience a run of poor scores. Kohli is in that unenviable place now and for all the bagging he is receiving by the many Australian fans he has offended, I am surprised that he is having such an impact on this series without making any runs. I expect that just makes his haters blood boil.
        In my opinion, this series he has pushed a few boundaries at times, possibly more than he has hit when batting, but I love the aggression he brings to the Indian side.

    • March 21st 2017 @ 7:30pm
      Art Vanderlay said | March 21st 2017 @ 7:30pm | ! Report

      Thanks for the memories Kersi. As a young bloke I was bewildered by Chapell’s run of outs (as undoubtedly he was) and the calls for his head. Thankfully it was well prior to the coming of the internet and it’s accompanying keyboard warrior.

      Kohli, as you say, is a good enough batsman to ride out this slump.

      As an aside this is a wonderful series that is breathing welcome life into test cricket outside of the Ashes. Both teams, much like the Benaud and Worrell teams in 1960, deserve credit.

    • March 21st 2017 @ 7:42pm
      dave said | March 21st 2017 @ 7:42pm | ! Report

      Chip up Kohli,Even Mgrath scored a 61.

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