Decoded: Virat Kohli’s struggles against spin

Kartik Mehindru

April 22 2023
Decoded: Virat Kohli's struggles against spin

In this article, we will analyse Virat Kohli’s struggles against spin bowling in the recent years.

Virat Kohli, intent, consistency and IPL. This combination is surefire to stir up a massive storm and when he plays like that, the law of averages, much like Kohli’s bottom-handed strokes goes out of the park. In 2023, in the initial 6 games, he has notched up four fifties, with the highest score of 82* and an astonishing average of 55.80. 

The situation, however, isn’t all rains and rainbows. In RCB’s latest game against Punjab Kings, Virat Kohli scored 50 off 47 deliveries, and that brought on the age-old debate of how his strike rate is a little low for the modern game. 

The knock, although great, escaped from getting under the scanner as RCB managed to win the game by 24 runs. There has been a lot of talk lately as to how Kohli has fared against spinners in the middle overs of a T20 game.

Alright, let’s get you some perspective. In 2016, Virat’s best year, the former Indian captain faced 239 deliveries against spinners. His strike rate was 152.30. 

Virat Kohli vs Spinners in 2016

  • Total balls faced: 239
  • Strike rate: 152.30
  • Runs: 364
  • Running between the wickets: 57.46%

Compared to that, his strike rate in 2021, 22′ was 100 and 108 respectively. That is a major fall. Not only this but in 2023, the pattern has continued for him. He has faced 86 deliveries against spinners and has only managed to score 89 runs at a strike rate of 103 odd. 

Virat Kohli vs Spinners in IPL

 In 2021

  • Total balls faced: 134
  • Runs: 134
  • Strike rate: 100.00
  •  Running between the wickets: 49.25%

In 2022

  • Total balls faced: 99
  • Running between the wickets: 55.14%
  • Runs: 234
  • Strike rate: 108.08

In 2023

  • Total balls faced: 86
  • Runs: 89
  • Strike rate: 103.48
  • Running between the wickets: 53.9%

The Analysis

Virat Kohli’s strike rate against spinners has reduced considerably, and he hasn’t been able to play freely against them. This has also impacted his overall strike rate and his impact on the game. 

This is also the reason why we haven’t been able to see his 50s getting converted to 100s. Due to the low strike rate during the middle phase, he is getting too rushed to up the ante in the last few overs, thereby losing his wicket. His last three 50s were, 59(47), 50(34), and 61(44), and these numbers just aren’t what you necessarily expect from a set Virat Kohli. 

Kohli has been dismissed 5 times this season, and four of these dismissals have come against Sunil Narine, Amit Mishra, Lalit Yadav, and Harpreet Brar. Spinners. 

Kohli would definitely be aware of this fact and keeping in mind the approaching World Cup, which by the way, will be played on Indian pitches, he would want to rectify and improve the current situation. 

Anyways, he is back amongst the runs and is giving RCB fans a run for their money. The tournament has just about begun, and it will be wonderful to see where he goes from here, and if he can get close to his 2016 benchmark.

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