It is a common saying that the true measure of a player’s class is how he performs in pressure situations. Virat Kohli is a step ahead. The vice-captain and star batsman has a knack of coming and scoring in every match he plays, irrespective of the situation the team is in. Whether India needs to be put runs on the board or chase a total, the team always looks up to Kohli for providing the momentum or the blast depending on the situation. And he rarely disappoints.
A classic example is the recent ODI between Australia and India in Jaipur where, while chasing 360, Kohli came in after an exceptional start by the openers and scored a century in 52 balls to become the Indian with the fastest ODI century, eclipsing Virender Sehwag’s 60-ball effort. With his performances and his passion, Kohli is being projected as the man who will carry the weight of the nation’s hopes in the years to come, and quite rightly so. Virat Kohli is the future of Indian cricket.
Even though his career span is a little over 5 years, he has managed to give a fair impression of what to expect from him. Here, I look at a few records that Kohli can break in the coming years if he keeps going the way he has been.
1) Most centuries by a player in ODI cricket
The record holder is ‘master blaster’ Sachin Tendulkar. With 49 ODI tons from 463 matches, Tendulkar has set the bar sky-high. But as the legend himself believes, if anybody can eclipse that, it will be Virat Kohli. Kohli has so far scored 17 centuries in 119 matches with nearly a century every 7 matches, as compared to Tendulkar who scored one every 9. Since there is a lot more ODI cricket played than Test cricket, this record should be within Kohli’s reach so long as he manages to keep performing for the next 10 years to come.
2) Highest ODI batting average
For players who have played at least 100 ODIs, this record is in the kitty of Michael Bevan. Bevan played 232 ODIs for Australia having scored 6,912 runs at an average of 53.58. But Kohli is not far behind. With 4,804 runs at an average of 51.10, he can boast of being the third highest in the list after Bevan and Captain Cool MS Dhoni. With the amount of time he gets to spend on the crease, being India’s No. 3 position specialist, and as he keeps gaining experience, one can certainly expect his average to soar in the coming years.
3) Fastest century in the world
Most would say that this is a little over the top but with Kohli, you can never say for sure. He did it in 52 balls against Australia and who knows, he might even do it in 36. A belter of a pitch, ideal conditions, a weak opposition and Kohli on song are all that’s needed to eclipse Shahid Afridi’s long standing record of the fastest century which he scored in 37 balls.
4) Highest ODI score
Sachin Tendulkar’s 200 against South Africa at Gwalior was eclipsed by Virender Sehwag’s 219 against West Indies. Perfect example of the statement “records are meant to be broken”, isn’t it? Kohli’s highest score stands at a whopping 183 in a mere 148 balls that he scored against Pakistan last year. So the day he bats through the innings, you may just get to witness Virender Sehwag’s 219 go down in the dust.
*Stats updated after India vs Australia series in Oct-Nov 2013