Virat Kohli equalled legendary Sachin Tendulkar on 49 ODI hundreds after his century against South Africa in the ongoing ODI World Cup 2023.
New Delhi: Virat Kohli is the ‘absolute best’ batter in the world on the basis of his overall record and he did not need to equal legendary Sachin Tendulkar’s record number of ODI hundreds to earn that tag, feels former Australia captain Ricky Ponting.
Kohli equalled Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI centuries with a brilliant 101 not out against South Africa on his 35th birthday in a World Cup match on Sunday. The century only further strengthened Kohli’s case of being one of the greatest players of modern times.
“There is no doubt he is the absolute best and I have said that for a long time,” Ponting said on the ICC website. “He didn’t need to equal Sachin’s record, he doesn’t need to break the record. “If you look at his overall batting record it is incredible,” said Ponting, himself a legendary batter.
The century against South Africa was Kohli’s second of the tournament and fourth overall in all 50-over World Cups. The 35-year-old now has a total of 543 runs at this edition of the World Cup at an imposing average of 108.60.
Ponting eluded to the fact that Kohli reached the feat of 49th ODI ton in 175 innings less than Tendulkar. “To think that he (Kohli) got 49 ODI hundreds and equalled Sachin and in 175 less innings is unbelievable.”
Ponting predicted a more dangerous Kohli in the remainder of the World Cup as he can play with more freedom now that he has drawn level with Tendulkar. “That (49th ton) might be a bit of a monkey off his back. I think he has been working extra hard to equal Sachin’s record.
“That’s done now and it has happened at a really good time at the tournament for him. One more game to go and then they head into the semi-finals. It was an almost perfect day for Virat and a great day for India.”
Ponting was also highly impressed with the strong impact Indian bowlers have had in many of their resounding victories. He said the Indian bowling attack has been the best of all the teams in the ongoing World Cup.
South Africa’s star-studded batting line-up were skittled for just 83 on Sunday and only two teams have managed to bat out their 50 overs against India through their first eight games of the tournament.
India now have three players among the top 10 wicket-takers at the tournament — Mohammad Shami (16), Jasprit Bumrah (15) and Ravindra Jadeja (14). “What we have seen in this World Cup so far, is that India’s bowling attack has clearly been the best,” Ponting said.
“Opposition teams are going to have to put a lot of analysis into how they play Bumrah, how they are going to play (Mohammed) Siraj, as they need to get on top of these guys early. “Because if they don’t, their spinners will come and get you in the middle of the game.”