Virat Kohli on the verge of replacing Faf du Plessis as 2017's highest ODI run-getter
What's the story?
Enjoying a rich run of form that has now extended across multiple seasons, India captain Virat Kohli could add another feather to his bulging cap by ending 2017 as the highest ODI run-getter for the calendar year. With his unbeaten fifty against Sri Lanka in the first ODI of the ongoing series, Kohli, with 769 runs, broke into the top-three of 2017's highest run-getters in ODIs.
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Kohli scored an unbeaten 82 off just 70 balls, playing the ideal supporting hand to centurion Shikhar Dhawan, whose 11th ODI ton helped the Indian side hunt down Sri Lanka's mediocre total without even breaking a sweat.
Captain of the national side in all three formats, Kohli is currently in the middle of a purple patch, having put the the disappointment of the Champions Trophy final loss to Pakistan firmly behind him. A fruitful series against West Indies right after the ICC event in England was followed by a three-nil drubbing of Sri Lanka in Tests.
The heart of the matter
With the half-century, Kohli overtook England's Eoin Morgan and broke into the top-three highest ODI run-getters in 2017, behind only South Africa's Faf du Plessis and England's Joe Root. While du Plessis, who scored a career-best 185 against the Lankans in January this year, has 814 runs from 16 games, Joe Root has stacked up 785 from 14. Du Plessis averages 58.1 and Root 71.3; in contrast, Kohli averages a whopping 96.1
England are not slated to play any ODIs until September 19 (when they lock horns with West Indies), while South Africa won't be seen playing 50-over games until mid-October 15 (when they face Bangladesh). Given that Du Plessis and Root won't be playing ODIs till then, Kohli will get a chance to garner a big lead over his contemporaries by the end of the year.
Post the conclusion of the Sri Lanka tour, which still has four ODIs and a T20I to go, the Indian team will travel back home to face Australia in a five-match ODI series that begins with the first game at Chennai on September 17.
Kohli's stature continues to grow bigger with each passing series: irrespective of the format, the 28-year-old has managed to gather big numbers under his belt. 2016 was a watershed year for him, where he scored 726 runs in seven innings while chasing (including three hundreds), and 2017 doesn't seem to be far behind in terms of witnessing big knocks from the Delhi-born batsman.
With captaincy on his shoulders and a testing opposition like Australia lined-up to play next, expect Kohli to bring out his best game over the next few months. There has been no lull in his batting form, despite a shoulder injury in the first half of 2017, and a similar approach from the batsman over the next year and half will help him, and the Indian team, gather momentum in the months leading-up to the 2019 World Cup.