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Virat Kohli can get to 100 international centuries if he can play for 5-6 more years: Sunil Gavaskar

India vs Sri Lanka: Speaking to India Today, legendary Sunil Gavaskar said Virat Kohli will be able to emulate Sachin Tendulkar by scoring 100 international centuries if he carries on to play until 40. Kohli scored his 46th ODI hundred on Sunday, January 15.

In Short

  • Virat Kohli scored his 74th international hundred on January 15
  • Kohli is just 3 ODI hundreds away from equalling Tendulkar’s record
  • Kohli’s 166 not out helped Indai hammer Sri Lanka by 317 runs in Thiruvananthapuram

PosterGuy: Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar backed Virat Kohli to go on to get 100 international centuries, provided he is able to continue playing until he turns 40. The legendary batter said he won’t be surprised if Kohli goes on to play 5-6 more years, considering his incredible fitness.

Speaking to India Today after Virat Kohli notched up his 46th ODI hundred, Sunil Gavaskar said he is confident that Kohli will be able to get to 100 international hundreds if he carries on with the hunger to score big and love for the game.

Virat Kohli took his international hundred tally to 74 as he has hit 3 ODI hundreds in his last 4 knocks in the 50-over format of the game. Kohli had ended his 3-year drought for an ODI hundred in Bangladesh in December 2022 and there has been no looking back since. Kohli began the New Year with 113 vs Sri Lanka in Ahmedabad. He failed to get going, getting out for 4 in the 2nd ODI but Kohli posted his second-highest ODI score — 166 not out in the 3rd ODI as India registered a 317-run win in Thiruvanthapuram on Sunday, January 15.

Kohli has scored 4 international hundreds in the last 6 months and has hit peak form in white-ball cricket in the lead-up to ODI World Cup 2023. Kohli is just 3 hundreds away from emulating Sachin Tendulkar’s ODI record of 49 hundreds.

However, Kohli needs 26 more hundreds to equal Sachin Tendulkar’s world record of 100 international hundreds. Tendulkar had scored 51 Test hundreds and 49 ODIs hundreds in his career. Kohli has 46 ODI hundreds, a T20I century and 27 Test hundreds.

“In case he plays, 5 or 6 years, he will get to the 100. There’s no doubt about it. His average is about 6-6 hundreds a year. So if that happens, then surely he can add another 26 hundreds in the next 5-6 years, if he plays till 40,” Gavaskar said.

“Sachin Tendulkar also played till his 40s and he had kept his fitness. Kohli is very aware of his fitness. He is still, the fastest runner between wickets in this Indian team. Only when MSD was there, you could say, MS Dhoni was as quick, if not quicker. Today, at this age, he beats the youngsters hands down. Converting 1s into 2s, and 2s into 3s, he is an absolute champion at that. And not just his runs, but for his partners as well.

“So with that kind of fitness, for him to play till 40 would not be a surprise at all,” Gavaskar added.

Kohli has not been picked for the T20Is since the start of the New Year but the former India captain is a key member of the Royal Challengers Bangalore Indian Premier League franchise.

At 34, Kohli has spoken a lot about staying fresh and stressed the need to take breaks.

Gavaskar believes Kohli will have no problem continuing to play international cricket for another 6 years, adding that it’s the love for the game that propels a player to go that extra mile.

“I don’t think so (problem playing all formats and IPL). It’s your love for the game that sustains you. Sometimes, it’s that love for the game that keeps your going for a year or two more than you should.

“If your love for the game is there, you can go for a long time. When that is there, I don’t think there is any worry about lasting long,” Gavaskar added.

Kohli will look to continue his golden run when he turns up for the 3-match ODI series against New Zealand, starting Wednesday, January 18.

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