Surpassing Sachin Tendulkar’s feat of 100 international centuries is “possible” for Virat Kohli, said Australian great Ricky Ponting as he noted the Indian superstar’s newfound hunger for racing. Kohli recently ended a 1,020-day wait for his 71st international hundred when he smashed 122 no-outs from 61 balls against Afghanistan in the Asian Cup earlier this month. “If you had asked me three years ago, I would have said yes. But the fact that he slowed down as much as he did… yes, I still think it’s possible for him, no question,” Ponting told The ICC Review.
“Look, I will never say never with Virat, because you know how hungry he is and how eager for success he is. I will never say never, that’s for sure.” said the two-time World Cup-winning skipper from Australia.
Over the course of his century, Kohli equaled Ponting’s feat of 71 tons. Kohli now only has one name on the list of most centuries above him: Tendulkar.
Thirty international centuries may be a lot, but Ponting said, “I still think he’s got several years to go, but I guess he’s still got 30 international hundreds behind him, that’s a lot.”
“That’s five or six hundred tests a year, maybe for the next three or four years. If you throw a couple of tests a day, maybe you miss the T20s on top,” the 47-year-old added.
With Kohli back in his prime, one debate circulating now is whether he should start in place of KL Rahul, who has struggled to get his groove back after returning from an injury layoff.
Kohli started for India in nine T20Is, scoring 400 runs at an average of 57.14 with an excellent strike rate of 161.29.
“The question we’re going to keep asking is, well I’m sure the Indian selectors are asking the same question: does that create more problems than we thought with Virat getting that 100 opening the batting? What are we going to do now to go to the World Cup?” So there are a few other questions that are likely to come up on the back of the magnificent 100 that he made. He was even on record saying that he himself was surprised that the first 100 back was actually in one game (T20I). He thought that would be the last chance he would have to score his first hundred in a couple of years.” Kohli returned to the Indian team in the Asian Cup after a month’s break.
Team India will face Australia in three T20Is starting in Mohali on Tuesday. They will then take on South Africa in three ODIs and T20Is before flying to Australia.
Asked if Kohli should rest again: “Yeah, that’s a very good question and probably only he can answer it,” Ponting said.
“It’s just going to depend on how he feels mentally again.
“When you are playing, you never realize how tired you are until you take a step back, because you are always fooling yourself and convincing yourself that you are 100% correct physically and mentally.
“Sometimes you’re not even close to that. And I think Virat also came out and said that, he just didn’t realize how bad he was until he had that long break.
“If he keeps scoring runs now, I’m sure he’ll play the next series. If he plays that and he plays well and he starts to get into a role, I think he’s going to want to keep playing. I want to keep that momentum going.
“But if he gets into a bit of trouble again, it’s probably in their interest and India’s interest to try to freshen him up mentally as much as they can for the World Cup,” Ponting added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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