Batting maestro Virat Kohli has made one “hell of a record” by smashing his 50th ODI hundred but there is no one getting close to the milestone by a far distance, believes Indian great Gundappa Viswanath.
Kohli eclipsed Sachin Tendulkar`s 49 ODI hundreds during his 117 against New Zealand in the World Cup semifinal on Wednesday to propel India into the final for the first time since 2011.
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“Sometime back, I had said that if at all anyone can come closer to Sachin`s 100s, it will be Kohli. I didn`t expect that he is going to break it,” Viswanath told PTI during an interview.
“His consistency, I mean, all are talking about his hundreds but the way he has been getting 70s and 80s, any batsman will take that. It is (only) because of his consistency that he got 50-plus scores. The way he approaches his cricket, he has a lot of cricket in him.
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“There are not many who can come closer, even though Rohit (Sharma) has around 30 plus a hundred, so (there is) still a long way (to go) for him, but rest I can`t pinpoint somebody is there to come close. He has achieved one hell of a thing scoring one more than Sachin,¿ he said.
Besides 50 ODI centuries, Kohli also has 29 hundreds in Tests and one in T20Is for a total of 80 scores above 100.
During the semifinal, Kohli also became the first batter ever to break the 700-run barrier in a single World Cup edition with one more game to go.
“I am not comparing him with Sachin because they are two different cricketers, (there are) no comparisons but both are great, absolutely legends. The best part is they know what they are doing. Sachin knew what he was doing and Kohli said he is my guru and he is going along the way, he said.
It is amazing, Kohli`s batting, Viswanath said.
Tendulkar scored 49 tons in ODIs and 51 centuries in Tests and is the only batter till date to have a century of hundreds to his name.
Can Kohli break Tendulkar`s record of making a hundred international tons?
“Well, it all depends on how many Test matches we play. Few are coming up with South Africa and England, you can`t get 100s in all the matches but he is capable of scoring. We will have to see,” he said.
`KL Rahul`s DRS is a plus point`
The 74-year-old Viswanath, who was part of the Indian team during the 1975 and 1979 World Cup, also heaped praise on KL Rahul for his wicketkeeping and correct inputs during DRS calls.
“Rahul is not a regular `keeper for India but nobody pinpointed anything about his `keeping, so that means he is `keeping well,” Visawanath observed.
Rahul has made a huge contribution not only with his bat but also with his correct DRS calls. His accurate calls have prevented India from a wrong referral during the World Cup at least five times so far.
“It is a plus point,” said Viswanath, who has scored 6,080 runs, including 14 centuries in his 91 Tests for India.
“(MS) Dhoni was a captain and he was right most of the time (with his DRS calls) but here, Rahul is a `keeper and Rohit is the captain but he is not in the line of the ball. If he is at cover or short midwicket, he has to take Rahul`s assistance and he is giving it so perfectly. That is a plus point, he added.
`Host multi-nation events to keep the ODI format alive`
Kohli`s 50th hundred during the World Cup instilled life to a large extent in the ODI format which many consider is dying a slow death amid the razzmatazz of T20s, a format which has spread globally in the last decade.
Viswanath feels hosting bi-annual multi-nation events could be the key to keep 50-overs format alive.
“Four years is too much, I am not saying play the World Cup once in two years, but you have to create some other format.
“All the teams can play like this every two years, don`t call it the World Cup, but in some other form like the Champions Trophy. So there are bigger matches with all teams playing then you will have people watching, that`s the only way to make ODIs stand out,” he said.
For that matter, the ICC Champions Trophy is set to return in 2025 with Pakistan earmarked as the hosts.
“Bilateral ODIs are not helping, it is not giving the punch,¿ the Indian batting great added.
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