India's batting sensation Virat Kohli has already broken many ODI records in his 118-match career, however, cricket pundits feel he is destined to even greater things by going past Sachin Tendulkar's limited-overs records.
Kohli scored the third-fastest century (115* off 66 balls) by an Indian on Wednesday to help India score a 6-wicket win against Australia in Nagpur to level the seven-match series 2-2 with the final match to go in Bengaluru.
Former India batting great Sunil Gavaskar praised Kohli after his blistering knock. "Virat has been simply outstanding. If you compare the statistics with what Sachin had achieved after 115 first-class games, you'll find that Virat is well ahead. I think Sachin took around 80-odd ODIs to get his first hundred. India is blessed to have somebody of the talent of Virat Kohli coming through. The fact that in his emerging years spent a lot of time with the likes of Sachin, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman and put that experience to good use on the field speaks very highly of this young man's cricketing intelligence. He reads the conditions and situation well, he knows the opposition well and that's the reason why he is scoring so consistently. (Virat made batting look easy: Dhoni)
Kohli has over the years shown that he revels in India's run chases. All his 11 hundreds batting second have come in an Indian win. He has been involved in as many as six 300-plus successful run chases and has scored centuries in five of them. On both the occasions in this series when India chased 350-plus targets, Kohli's swashbuckling hundreds have been the common factor. (Kohli hits 17th ton)
The Delhi batsman reveals how he relishes batting under lights. "I have always liked batting under lights and when I have target on the board it is always easy to analyse how much runs you need and at what point of time," said Kohli at the post-match presentation.
Statistically speaking he is the fastest man to score 15 ODI hundreds and the fastest Indian to score 4000 ODI runs. The under-19 World Cup winner needs 81 runs in his next ODI innings to break Vivian Richards' record of being fastest to 5000 ODI runs. Kohli became the first player to amass 1000 runs in the last three calendar years in ODIs i.e. 1381 in 2011, 1026 in 2012 and 1033 in 2013. En route his 115 not out, he also became the first batsman to record five successive innings of fifty-plus twice in ODIs. He had first achieved the feat in 2012.
By the time Sachin turned 25, he had 15 ODI hundreds, whereas, Kohli, who turns 25 in a week's time, already has 17. Out of these hundreds Kohli has scored 16 in a winning cause. In successful chases, Kohli is averaging 86.53 - his tally being 2596 in 46 matches, including eleven centuries and twelve fifties. His record in Indian wins is 3708 runs at an average of 69.96 in 73 matches, including 16 centuries and 15 fifties. (Heroic Kohli wins it for India)
Former Australian bastman Dean Jones feels Virat is definitely on course to go past Sachin. "I will tell you he will get past Sachin. He will play 30 ODIs a year for the next 15 years and he will pass Sachin, who would have ever thought of that?" Jones told NDTV in an exclusive chat on Wednesday.
Gavaskar also seconded Jones' view saying Sachin's ODI records can be broken by Kohli. "I think that is what human progress is all about, records are meant to be broken and while we know that some of the records that Sachin has got may be impossible. I don't think anybody is going to reach 200 Test matches nor anyone is going to reach 51 Test hundreds but the manner in which Virat is batting the record for 49 hundreds looks possible," Gavaskar said.
Of course even getting close to Sachin's records is a phenomenal feat. For the time being though as cricket fans are anticipating end to Sachin's international career, there's another Sachin in the making.