Calcutta: With Virat Kohli consistently smashing centuries in ODIs, Sunil Gavaskar opined he can surpass Sachin Tendulkar’s record number of centuries in the 50-over format.
In the 112 ODI innings he has played so far, Kohli scored 4,919 runs with 17 centuries, while Sachin, in the same number of innings, had scored 4,001 runs with eight hundreds.
“Records are meant to be broken. While we know that some of Sachin’s records are nearly impossible to get past, like playing 200 Test matches, nobody can reach 51 Test hundreds too.
“But the manner in which Virat is batting, the record for (Sachin’s) 49 hundreds looks possible. Now, Virat needs 32 more hundreds and considering the number of ODIs India play, he can do it.
“This cricketing season itself, Virat can get to 20 or 22 hundreds,” Gavaskar told a television channel.
In a span of just 15 days in the ongoing seven-match ODI series against Australia, Kohli smashed two of the three fastest hundreds by any Indian to help the home side level the series 2-2.
Asked if Kohli can take Sachin’s place in the India team after The Master retires next month, Gavaskar said: “I think Virat has been simply outstanding. If you compare the statistics with what Sachin had achieved after 115 ODIs, you’ll find that Virat is well ahead.
“I think Sachin took around 80-odd ODIs to get his first hundred.”
According to Gavaskar, Kohli was fortunate to have played alongside greats such as Sachin, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman early in his career.
“India is blessed to have somebody of the talent of Virat coming through. The fact that he has in his emerging years spent a lot of time with the likes of Sachin, Virender Sehwag, Dravid and Laxman and put that experience to good use on the field, speaks very highly of this young man’s cricketing intelligence.
“That is the key. He reads the conditions and situation well, he knows the opposition well and that’s the reason why he is scoring so consistently,” said the former captain. Kohli is the fastest Indian to score 4,000 ODI runs and needs 81 runs in his next ODI innings to break Vivian Richards’ record of being the fastest to get to 5,000 runs in the shorter format.
On a separate note, Gavaskar also said that he agreed with Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s view that the one-day game has now become a boundary hitting contest due to the new rule changes, which do not favour the bowlers.
‘I agree with Dhoni that we don’t want to see this seven hours of bang-bang cricket. This has become an extended version of T20, which is bang-bang from very beginning.”