Mumbai, November 16 (IANS) After Virat Kohli surpassed Sachin Tendulkar's long-standing tally of 49 ODI centuries by smashing a stunning 117 in India’s 70-run win semi-final over New Zealand, former head coach Ravi Shastri thinks the talismanic batter still has it in him to match up to the legendary batter’s mark of a hundred centuries.
“Who would have thought when Sachin Tendulkar got 100 hundreds that anyone would come close and he's got 80, 80 international hundreds, 50 of them in the one-day game and which makes him the highest. Unreal.”
“Nothing's impossible because such players, when they start reeling off hundreds, then they score them pretty quickly. His next 10 innings, you might see another five hundreds. You have three formats of the game and he's part of all those formats. To think that he still has three or four years of cricket ahead of him is simply mind-boggling,” said Shastri on the ICC Review podcast.
Kohli is now the leading run-getter in the World Cup and Shastri thinks Kohli has prepared well and looked in control throughout the tournament. “I think his composure, just his body language, his composure, his calmness of the crease (was telling). I have seen him come out in previous World Cups where he's like a cat on a hot tin roof.”
“He wants to get on with it straight away. None of that sort here. He's taken his time, marked his guard, soaked the pressure, given himself time, and understood his role of batting deep in the innings. And he's just been wonderful.”
Shastri, a member of India’s 1983 World Cup winning team, points out that Kohli is reaping rewards of his meticulous preparation ahead of every game, especially in being proficient in running between the wickets.
“It’s a mix of all three (mental shifts, technical tinkering and an emphasis on fitness). (It) gives him some time, to be calm and composed at the beginning of the innings. His shot selection in the first 10, 15 runs, he doesn't take that extra risk. He’s quite prepared to leave deliveries, knock the ball around.”
“One of the features of his batting has been his running between the wickets. The fact that he doesn't have to hit boundaries and sixes, he can run hard between the wickets because of his physical fitness."
“That takes the pressure off him. Even when he's not getting the boundaries, he's still rotating the strike. And he always has that uncanny ability of making it up towards the back end of the innings,” he concluded.