Away Tests : Kohli or Rahane?

Kohli and Rahane – Pillars of Indian Batting in modern era

 

Indian test team is now in the safe hands of players who are young, aggressive & have never say die attitude. Since the retirement of fab four (Sachin,Sourav,Rahul & VVS), with Sachin being the last addition to that list, India has won 5 test matches outside their home turf with 2 away series wins. They have shown their guts  in SA, NZL, AUS, WI, SRL, ENG (only first two tests to say the least). There are two such players in the middle order who have been very instrumental in India’s improved performance  outside their home soil. Those 2 players are none other than the Delhiite Virat Kohli (captain) & the Mumbaikar Ajinkiya Rahane (Vice captain in tests).

Before discussing on their consistency, lets throw some light on their performances outside India since Sachin’s retirement.

 

Runs scored by Kohli and Rahane in Away Tests (since November 2013)

Runs scored by Kohli & Rahane in each away test since November 2013:

Runs scored by Rahane in Away Tests (since 2013)

Runs scored by Kohli in Away Tests (since 2013)

Virat Kohli has scored 200 or more runs in a test 4 times while Ajinkya Rahane is yet to score 200 runs.

Tour Down-Under was one of the most successful tours for them and as we all know England tour was a disaster for Kohli while Rahane’s performance can be counted as somewhat satisfactory as compared to other Indian players in that series.

Now if we go by the % of runs scored in boundaries metric, we see that Rahane has an edge over Kohli. Rahane has scored 52.14% of the runs in boundaries while Kohli’s score is 49.03%.

Let’s check out the % of runs scored in boundaries against each host team:

Percentage of runs in boundaries (Kohli vs Rahane comparison)

Kohli has been very consistent enough when it comes to playing in flat pitches outside India.

Below are his scores in flat & placid pitches outside India.

110 & 96 v SA at Johannesburg in 2013

115 & 141 v Aus at Adelaide in 2014

169 & 54 v Aus at Melbourne in 2014

103 & 3 v Aus at Sydney in 2015

On the contrary, we have seen regular failures from Kohli when the pitches are green/ bouncy or a bit of grass with good pace. But his test deputy (Rahane) has been standing tall in such pitch conditions. At times, his performance has prevented India from getting bundled out at below par scores.

Below are Rahane’s scores in such conditions outside India.

51* & 96 v SA at Durban in 2013

103 & 5  v Eng at Lords in 2014

54 & 52* v Eng at Southampton in 2014

Who is Consistent?

Consistency is not about scoring big hundreds or double hundreds only. But it also depends on the amount of variability of scores relative to his mean score.
Here we are considering the scores as test scores(instead of inning score) & mean score as the runs per test(since runs per test (RPT) negates the effect of not out innings to some extent). So, lesser the variability, more is the consistency.

The table below illustrates the fact that Rahane is more consistent than Kohli.

Player Tests Runs RPT CI
Rahane 21 1668 79.42 0.60
Kohli 21 1916 91.23 0.87

CI (Consistency Index) refers to the amount of variability of  test scores relative to the mean test score.

Below is the graph showing the distribution of runs scored by Kohli & Rahane in a test:

Distribution of runs scored by Rahane

 

Distribution of runs scored by Kohli

The blue line indicate  RPT (Runs Per Test).  As mentioned in the table above, the RPT for Rahane & Kohli are 79.42 & 91.23 respectively. From the above graphs, we can easily make out that the scores of Kohli are more variable w.r.t to his mean test score (RPT) than Rahane. Thus, this concludes the fact that Rahane is more consistent than Kohli

If we exclude the disastrous England series, still Rahane has an upper hand.

Player Tests Runs RPT CI
Rahane 16 1369 85.56 0.56
Kohli 16 1782 111.37 0.72

Below is the graph showing the distribution of runs scored by Kohli & Rahane in a test excluding the England tour:

Distribution of runs scored by Rahane (excluding England series)

Distribution of runs scored by Kohli (excluding England series)

From the above graph, we still observe that the scores of Kohli are more variable w.r.t to his mean test score (RPT) than Rahane even if we exclude the England tour.

We have adored Kohli a lot in recent times but statistics seems to have adored Rahane more than Kohli in away series. We have to wait and watch if the tables turn once they hang up their boots.

This is a guest post by Anirban Dwibedi who is a QA engineer by profession but his passion lies in cricket and data. He is a cricket stats fanatic and a die hard fan of Sachin Tendulkar.

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