Number Nuggets- How good are Kohli, Pujara and Rahane compared to Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman?
India recently concluded an overseas Test series against England, and with no surprises, they lost the series 4-1; which was also their worst 5 match series result in last 6 decades.
Many questions have been raised on team's batting performances, their ability to adapt to swinging conditions and Indian team selection.
Have the conditions been really that tricky in recent times, or they just couldn't adapt according to the playing conditions?
So, this is our attempt to analyze the performances of Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane in comparison to their counterparts, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman in South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia.
Our intention is not to compare the players, but to compare their performances. Hence, we are only considering the records since 2000 to have a fair comparison.
As seen from the stats below, Cheteshwar Pujara has been poor in South Africa scoring only 411 runs in 13 innings at an average of 31.61 with 2 fifties.
His counterpart, Rahul Dravid too has performed very poorly in South Africa scoring only 347 runs in 16 innings at an average of 21.68 with just 1 fifty.
Virat Kohli has the best average in South Africa among these six as he has scored 558 runs in 10 innings at an average of 55.8 with 2 fifties and 2 centuries.
His counterpart, Sachin Tendulkar has similar performance as he has scored 718 runs in 16 innings at an average of 55.23 with 2 fifties and 3 centuries.
Ajinkya Rahane has played only 6 innings, but has been really good scoring 266 runs in 6 innings at an average of 53.2 with 2 fifties.
His counterpart, VVS Laxman has been decent scoring 526 runs in 15 innings at an average of 40.46 with 4 fifties and a hundred.
Hence, this round goes to Virat Kohli and Co.
Cheteshwar Pujara has once again been dismal in England scoring only 500 runs in 18 innings at an average of just 29.4 with 3 fifties and a century.
Surprisingly, Rahul Dravid has been exceptional in England. He has the worst figures in South Africa, but has the best figures in England. Overall, he has scored 1189 runs in 20 innings at a superb average of 69.94 with 2 fifties and 6 centuries.
Virat Kohli had a horror tour in England in 2014; his worst in any country he has played. However, he improved drastically in 2018 as he amassed 593 runs in 10 innings at an average of 59.3. Overall, he has been decent in England scoring 727 runs in 20 innings at an average of 36.35 with 3 fifties and 2 centuries.
His counterpart, Sachin Tendulkar has a good record in England scoring 902 runs in 20 innings at an average of 45.1 with 6 fifties and 1 century
Considering the performances, this round definitely goes to Sachin Tendulkar and co.
Traditionally, New Zealand has the toughest pitches combining the pace and bounce of Australia along with swinging conditions of South Africa and England.
In New Zealand, the modern middle order of Virat Kohli and Co. have played only 2 matches, but have good performances from Kohli and Rahane. The duo scored 214 runs and 162 runs at an average of 71.33 and 54 respectively.
Cheteshwar Pujara on the other hand, has once again been disappointing scoring only 60 runs in 4 innings at an average of 15.
Sachin Tendulkar and Co. have good performances from each of them as they amassed 1211 runs in 28 innings at an average of 43.33 with 10 fifties and 2 centuries.
Considering their overall performance in New Zealand, both the generations have similar results.
However, owing to poor performance from Pujara, this round again goes to Sachin Tendulkar and co.
Australia has a relatively better batting friendly conditions as compared to South Africa, England and New Zealand.
Virat Kohli has the best performance in Australia as he has scored 992 runs in 16 innings at an average of 62 with 2 fifties and 5 centuries; quite exceptional!
His counterpart, Sachin Tendulkar too has been really good scoring 1212 runs in 25 innings at an average of 55.09 with 5 fifties and 3 centuries.
"For India, Sachin Tendulkar is the only player to have an average of 40+ in South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia".
Cheteshwar Pujara has once again been disappointing scoring only 201 runs in 6 innings at an average of 33.5
His counterpart, Rahul Dravid has been good scoring 1102 runs in 28 innings at an average of 45.91 with 6 fifties and 1 century.
Ajinkya Rahane has been really good in Australia scoring 399 runs in 8 innings at an average of 57 with 2 fifties and a century
Australia seems to be VVS Laxman's favorite team as his best performance in overseas conditions has come against them. Overall, he has scored 1189 runs in 25 innings at an average of 49.94 with 4 fifties and 4 centuries.
Considering the overall performances in Australia, both the generations have similar results. However, it is Cheteshwar Pujara's dismal performance which made us give this round to Sachin Tendulkar and Co.
Concluding the analysis, we can see that not on one occasion has Cheteshwar Pujara been able to score at an average of more than 40.
Ajinkya Rahane, on the other hand, has a bad record in South Africa, but he has been good in other three countries. Same has been the case with Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman as they have a bad performance in South Africa and England respectively.
This leaves us with a big question. Is Cheteshwar Pujara actually a right number 3 batsmen for India? Sure, he has been exceptional on subcontinent pitches but is that really the need of the hour.