When is Virat Kohli likely to complete 50 ODI hundreds?
The 42nd ODI hundred took a while. A long while in fact - 155 days and 13 ODIs to be precise. That is way too long by his standards.
But it eventually did come. It had to - it was inevitable.
That last Virat Kohli ODI special came in March 2019 against Australia back home. Statistically, the last time it took that long (13 ODIs) for the Indian captain to score a century was almost half a decade back, in Oct 2015.
In the previous two years (2017-2018), Kohli smashed as many as 12 centuries in just 40 ODIs – that’s a hundred every 4 ODIs. Completely astonishing!
The way he started this year (three hundreds by March itself), everyone anticipated many more by now - especially considering the incentive to deliver on the world’s biggest cricketing stage, the ICC World Cup 2019. But unfortunately, that wasn’t to be.
The Indian cricket fans were entertained by a series of astounding hundreds by Indian openers Shikhar Dhawan (1) and vice-captain Rohit Sharma (5), but they deeply missed a big knock by the 30-year-old Indian run machine. Even though Kohli scored close to 500 runs at an average of 65 with 5 fifties at the World Cup, he wasn't able to get to the three-figure mark or help his side lift the trophy.
There is something special about Kohli and centuries, just like it is with MS Dhoni and last over finishes. And now that the rust has been dusted, we can expect a flurry of hundreds in the coming days from the Indian maestro's blade.
The priority now shifts towards breaking the long-standing record of the highest number of ODI hundreds (49) owned by none other than the little master Sachin Tendulkar.
With only eight more hundreds needed for his 50th ODI century, and taking into account his love for hundreds, the countdown is ticking quickly towards the record. But die-hard Tendulkar fans can breathe a sigh of relief for now since the focus will be on T20I cricket not just for this year but also the next couple of years, considering the back-to-back T20 World Cups.
As of now, India are scheduled to play only another 13 ODIs until the ICC T20 World Cup (November 2020), and just another nine more after that until the subsequent T20 World Cup 2021 (November 21).
In short, India will play very limited ODI cricket (21 matches) in the next two years. ODI cricket will only regain its dominance in 2022, as the teams prepare for the ICC World Cup 2023.
Even though Kohli is regarded as one of the best ODI batsmen in the history of cricket, it will take a magical effort even from him to score another eight centuries in the next two years (21 ODIs). Based on the current ODI scheduling and allowing for another dip in form along with some rest against weaker sides, we may have to be wait until the next ODI World Cup for the mark to be breached.
Having said that, Kohli is a very special cricketer. Considering the intensity with which he plays every game, it is possible, although unlikely, that his fans will be celebrating his 50th ODI century sooner.
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