It is often said “Cometh the hour Cometh the champion”. It has been proven many times in sporting history of the world that the greatest athletes outshine themselves in the greatest of stages. However, for Virat Kohli the going has been tough in ODI World Cups compared to the lofty standards he has set for himself especially in knockout matches. The recent Batting Impact Index (BII) comparing the 7 best top order batsmen of the world going into this World Cup finds Virat Kohli having the least impact among the other batsmen in this top 7 active top order batsmen group as far as ODI World Cup history is concerned. The other batsmen in this group on the basis of their rankings from top to bottom are Rohit Sharma, Babar Azam, David Warner, Joe Root, Kane Williamson and Steve Smith.
Though Babar Azam has played only one World Cup (8 innings to be precise) and his sample size is small the index has included him in the group despite the fact that his impact is more skewed towards lesser quality bowling line ups barring an unbeaten hundred against New Zealand in a match winning cause in the 2019 edition. Babar overall ODI BII is also skewed towards weaker bowling lineups with him scoring 10 of his 18 ODI centuries against Zimbabwe, West Indies and Sri Lanka. However, his overall ODI BII is only second to Virat Kohli who is head and shoulders above the rest with ODI BII being 64.39 followed by Babar with ODI BII 63.33. However, Kohli’s World Cup BII is only 48.7 and is the least among the group with only 2 World Cup centuries against Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Steve Smith too is 2nd last in the World Cup BII with WC BII being 49.8. However, Steve Smith’s WC BII is better than his ODI BII 46.72 thus implying that he outshined himself in the biggest stage as far as ODI cricket is concerned. His World Cup winning hundred in the 2015 WC semis against India was indeed a testimony to him being a big match player. Next ahead of him in the World Cup BII ratings is Kane who has World Cup BII of 53.51. Joe Root has the best ODI WC BII among the Fab 4 with World Cup BII of 57.19 compared to his ODI BII of 52.21. David Warner is ahead of the Fab 4 with his World Cup BII being 67.329 compared to his overall ODI BII of 51.381. David Warner can take away matches from any opposition in his day and the strike rate at which he scores gives nightmares to any opposition captain. Ahead of Warner is Babar with a WC BII of 72.66 which is bettered only by Rohit Sharma who has a World Cup BII of 75.09 which is phenomenal compared to his overall ODI BII of 52.567.
Thus it can be seen from comparison of overall ODI BII and WC BII that all players barring Virat Kohli have an improved World Cup BII compared to his overall ODI BII ratings a stat which King Kohli would want to change in his arguably last ODI World Cup.
On the other hand India’s top order is statistically having the most impact in World Cups a fact which only gives a welcome relief to the Indian fans given that King Kohli can only improve from here on given his class.