India have demonstrated over the past eighteen months and during the first Test match between England and India at Trent Bridge in the summer of 2021 that they are far more than their talismanic skipper Virat Kohli. One of the symptoms of defeat on their 2018 tour was an over-reliance on Kohli, who scored an immense 593 runs despite his side’s 4-1 loss.
Kohli was dismissed for a golden duck by James Anderson in the first innings at Trent Bridge, but India still posted a healthy 278 thanks to KL Rahul’s 84 and Ravindra Jadeja’s 56, as well as the unlikely wagging of their much-maligned tail. Indeed, such was in stark contrast to England’s total dependence on Joe Root, whose hundred and 64 first up was seconded by Sam Curran’s 32 over both innings.
However, a hugely exciting India team conquering all in its path will always be looking to improve, and one of the methods to do so still lies in the importance of Kohli making runs. The numbers in this regard make for interesting reading, with India’s average score when Kohli is dismissed for single-digit scores in Tests being 267, well below the likes of MS Dhoni (317) and VVS Laxman (282).
India are flourishing with stars such as Rahul, Sharma, the injured Shubman Gill, Pant and Rahane, but have showed a tendency to rely slightly too much on a man around whom Indian cricket revolves. If they can bump up those aforementioned numbers and further relieve the pressure on Kohli, their inevitable path to immortality will be significantly shortened.