The frustrating wait for a Virat Kohli hundred continues, but his ‘GOAT’ status in the format is by no means under any kind of scrutiny, writes Rohit Sankar.

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There is a Twitter account that exists solely to tweet out the number of days since Virat Kohli last recorded a century for India. As he walked in to bat on Friday, the ticker read 488 in international cricket. In ODIs, it is over a hundred days higher at 590. In the second ODI against England, just as in the first, as he started brandishing the characteristic flicks and back-foot punches, the overpowering feeling was that the ticker would be reset to zero.

It dipped momentarily when Jos Buttler let him off behind the stumps, and resurfaced soon after as he reached the halfway mark, raising his bat for another fifty, his fourth in a row in the format. And then a nothing cut shot, to a ball not quite short enough, and he was gone.

Given India’s packed schedule, with the IPL season followed by the WTC final and the England tour, Kohli might be just one more double digit score away from going two years without an ODI century.

Up until the start of his drought, Kohli had scored an ODI hundred every 5.3 innings on average. The dip should ideally be concerning, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find a batsman with his form intact, the lack of hundreds having barely put a blemish on his ODI record.

In the 14 innings since his last ODI hundred against West Indies immediately after the 2019 World Cup, Kohli has eight scores of fifty or more. That is a fifty-plus score once every 1.75 innings on an average. Good enough? Maybe. Only one batsman has more fifty-plus scores in this time frame (Shai Hope) and only two have a better rate of making fifty-plus scores.

Delve in further and you see three knocks in the eighties, and three further above 60. His average home and away remains above 40 and his average in run-chases, one that has always separated him out from the other ‘GOAT’ candidates, is still nearly touching 60. He has also recorded fifties against each of the four teams he has played against – Australia, England, New Zealand and West Indies.

Cut to across formats and the 489 days since his last ODI hundred is flooded with excellent fifty-plus knocks. There’s an unbeaten 90, five scores between eighty and ninety and a further six scores between 70 and 80. Kohli might be on a century drought, but it’s really just 14 innings spread across 18 months where he has actually been as good as ever, just without a landmark score to show for it. Such was his remarkable rate of scoring hundreds before this that anything less could go down as a dip. It only speaks to his remarkable batsmanship, if anything.