Sachin Tendulkarthe leading batsman in the game until his retirement in 2013, handed over the mantle to Kohli, who dominated the cricket scene for a long time in the last decade. Initially, he was part of the batting ‘Fab Four’ alongside Joe Root from England, Steve Smith from Australia and Kane Williamson from New Zealand, Kohli has not only maintained his brilliance but has outstripped his contemporaries.
Between 2011 and 2019, Kohli amassed more than 1,000 ODIs in a year on seven occasions, showing his remarkable consistency. However, after this prolific period, he faced a drought without an international century for almost three years.
The classy right-hander ended his drought in September last year and has been at his best in the current World Cup, where he is the runaway run-scorer with 711 runs from 10 matches, including three centuries.
World Cup 2023 semi-final: Virat Kohli scores 50th ODI ton, surpassing Sachin Tendulkar’s record
He surpassed Tendulkar’s record 49 ODI hundreds in Mumbai on Wednesday and it was only fitting that his idol was present at the Wankhede Stadium.
“Couldn’t be happier that an Indian has broken my record,” Tendulkar wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, to congratulate his protégé.
“And to do it on the biggest stage – the semi-finals of the World Cup – and on my home ground is the icing on the cake.”
The pace at which Kohli broke Tendulkar’s record also stands out as he reached his 50th ODI ton in 279 innings against his predecessor’s 49 in 452 innings.
Kohli seems immune to the pressure other batsmen feel in the chase, with 27 of his 50 hundreds coming in the second over.
COMPARISON OF RICHARD
His dominance is constantly compared to West Indian great Viv Richards, himself an admirer of Kohli’s batting.
“I’m a big fan of Virat… and he continues to show why he must go down as one of the all-time greats, right up there with the likes of the great Sachin,” Richards wrote in his column for the International Cricket Council.
“A lot of people have compared us over the years, partly because of our shared intensity on the court.
“I love Virat’s enthusiasm… He is always on and I like individuals like that.
Age and fatherhood may have mellowed him, but Kohli still manages to put on a compelling display when he steps onto the field.
When Kohli takes center stage, he doesn’t shy away from the limelight but hogs it – even as he celebrates the dismissal of a rival in which he played no part.
The fans love him. And many obey him too – with a gesture or a stare, he can whip up frenzied support from the stands when the team needs extra motivation, or stop the crowd from booing an opponent like Steve Smith, or taunting a fellow Indian.
But it is with the bat that he is at his best and there is hardly a more impressive sight in contemporary cricket than his checkered cover disc.
Pakistan bowling great Wasim Akram’s post on X this week summed up Kohli’s batting impact best.
“We live in the era of @imVkohli. Congratulations Emperor,” the bowling great wrote after Kohli’s masterclass in Mumbai.
(With inputs from Reuters)
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