Is Virat Kohli The Greatest T20 Batter Ever?: Is Virat Kohli the greatest T20 batter of all time? It might be an odd time to ask this question with his most recent score in the format being a golden duck against Afghanistan.
Keeping that aside, Kohli’s legacy in the format is cemented and contentious at the same time. While he might be the most consistent batter for a prolonged period in the short history of T20 cricket, his critics argue that his strike rate, which is naturally below the likes of Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers, means that he can’t be the greatest batter in the shortest format of T20 cricket.
Today, we will look at the arguments for the title of this piece, is Virat Kohli the Greatest T20 Batter of All Time –
Is Virat Kohli The Greatest T20 Batter Ever
Unlike other T20 greats, Virat has not played T20 cricket for franchises around the world. In fact, he has only ever played franchise cricket for one team and one team only, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the IPL. While this does nothing to prove his greatness in the format, it helps us break down the expansive career of Virat Kohli in T20s.
Firstly, Virat Kohli might just be the greatest IPL batter of all time. Not only is he the highest run scorer in league history with 7263 runs in 229 innings, but he is over 600 runs ahead of the next highest scorer, Shikhar Dhawan. He also has the most centuries in IPL history with seven, four of which came in the historic 2016 season.
Speaking of 2016, Kohli scored a staggering 973 runs in that IPL season with an eye-watering average of 81.08. No one has even touched the 900-run mark in a season before or since, with Shubman Gill coming the closest with 890 runs in the 2023 season.
But it is T20 Internationals where Kohli shines the brightest. He is the only player to have surpassed the 4000-run barrier, having scored 4037 runs in 109 innings. His average in the format is 51.75, the highest for anyone with over 1000 runs in T20Is.
Virat Kohli has also played some of the best and most clutch knocks in T20s. Who could forget his 82 off 53 balls against Pakistan? in the 2022 T20 World Cup, widely considered one of the greatest T20 innings of all time, or how he single-handedly won India the semi-final of the 2014 T20 World Cup with his unbeaten 42-ball-72.
This brings us to what sets Virat Kohli apart from other greats of the format like Chris Gayle, Jos Buttler, and David Warner despite their overall strike rate being higher in a format that pays too much attention to that statistic, it is the Delhi-born batters uncanny ability to chase down targets for his team.
India has chased a target in T20Is on 52 occasions with Kohli in the side. Out of these 52 occasions, there have been 18 times when the 35-year-old has not been dismissed. Whenever Virat has been not-out while India has been chasing, India has never lost a match. He has a staggering average of 71.85 whenever India chases and India has lost only 10 matches while chasing in T20Is with Kohli in the side.
With all that being considered, we return to the question asked in the title of this piece, is Virat Kohli the greatest T20 batter of all time?
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We have established that he is, without much doubt, the greatest batter in T20 International history. We have also reached the conclusion that he might just be the greatest batter in the history of the biggest T20 league in the world, the IPL. While he might not have the most runs in the format, he is very close to becoming just the 4th player to have reached the 12000 run mark in format, and the only one with an average over 40 with over 10000 runs.
So yes, Virat Kohli is the greatest T20 batter of all time. While there can, and should be debate regarding this topic, this being the popular opinion among cricket fans, especially in India, would not be the worst widespread cricketing opinion.
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