In a historic feat during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, Virat Kohli achieved a remarkable milestone by becoming the first cricketer to reach 50 centuries in One Day Internationals (ODIs). This extraordinary accomplishment unfolded during the World Cup semi-final against New Zealand, adding another chapter to Kohli’s illustrious career.
While Kohli’s dominance in all three cricket formats is undeniable, his prowess in ODIs has been particularly noteworthy. Even during periods when runs were scarce in other formats between 2019 and 2022, he consistently excelled in 50-over cricket. The significance of achieving this milestone in a World Cup semi-final, against a formidable opponent like New Zealand, added to the historic nature of the accomplishment.
Kohli’s 50 ODI centuries underscore his mastery in limited-overs cricket, making him a modern-day great in this format. Despite the challenges in other formats during specific periods, Kohli’s consistency in ODIs has remained a constant feature of his career.
Looking ahead, Kohli faces the monumental task of surpassing Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 100 international centuries. With 80 centuries to his name, Kohli is well aware of the challenge ahead. The uncertainty surrounding his participation in T20Is, given that he hasn’t played in the format since December 2022, adds complexity to the pursuit of this record.
Next year’s cricket calendar for India includes only five ODIs, leaving limited opportunities for Kohli to add to his century tally in this format. The real battleground for Kohli’s pursuit of Tendulkar’s record might well be red-ball cricket. If Kohli aims to match or surpass Tendulkar’s record, he will need to maintain peak performance and fitness, scoring five centuries annually for the next four years.
While Kohli’s dedication, discipline, and preparation are widely acknowledged, cricketing legend Brian Lara remains cautiously optimistic about Kohli’s chances. Lara, a big admirer of Kohli’s approach to the game, acknowledges the enormity of the challenge. At 35, Kohli would need to maintain an extraordinary level of performance until the age of 39 to achieve this milestone.
Lara acknowledges that age is a factor that cannot be ignored, and scoring 20 centuries in the coming years is no easy task. While he refrains from making bold predictions, Lara expresses his admiration for Kohli’s commitment and acknowledges that if anyone can come close to this record, it’s Virat Kohli.
Reflecting on Kohli’s recent performance in the ODI World Cup, where he scored 765 runs at an average of 95.62, Lara dismisses claims that Kohli slowed down to achieve specific milestones. He attributes such speculations to envy and highlights the challenges he faced during his own career.
As the cricketing world watches Kohli’s journey unfold, the pursuit of Tendulkar’s record adds an intriguing subplot to the latter part of Kohli’s illustrious career. The cricketing community remains eager to witness how Kohli, one of the modern giants of the game, navigates this ambitious pursuit in the years to come.