Kolkata: Former great Gundappa Viswanath on Sunday said run-machine Virat Kohli has “every chance” to break Sachin Tendulkar’s staggering record of notching 100 international centuries.
Kohli continued his sublime form in the ongoing tour of South Africa and created yet another world record two days ago, becoming the first batsman ever to score 500 runs in a bilateral ODI series.
“Kohli has shown consistency, performance and is getting hundreds regularly, he has got every chance to break that record, but its a tall order,” Viswanath said here on the sidelines of an U-14 invitational cricket tournament.
The original wristy artist in Indian cricket added, “Records are eventually meant to be broken. I am happy for that and I think even Sachin will be happy. But it is still a long way to go.”
Kohli went on to score his 35th ODI hundred, his third of the series and also the first by an Indian batsman in a bilateral series, to help his team register an emphatic eight-wicket victory and complete a 5-1 rout of hosts South Africa.
Impressed, the 69-year-old Viswanath said, “Everyone knows what Kohli is doing, he has been absolutely brilliant. Consistency is amazing and his hunger for runs, aggressiveness, he is at another level and I hope he continues and stays there.
“The confidence is showing on his team, it is doing very well, their performance augurs well for Indian team.”
Though he preferred to stay away form comparisons, Viswanath said results are in Kohli’s favour when asked if he could become India’s finest captain.
“I do not wish to compare but certainly the result is showing what Virat is doing. They beat most of the teams in India in recent times and in South Africa they came very close to beating them, especially in the first Test.
“They came back and won the third Test. I have confidence on this team that they will do well against other teams in their own countries.”
Asked about the bowlers showings in recent years, he sounded optimistic.
“They have been absolutely brilliant, especially new-ball bowlers in Test cricket, bowling consistently well. They utilised the conditions very well, sometimes even better than the South Africans.”
With the wrist spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal picking up a bagful of wickets in the ODIs in South Africa, it has become difficult for the likes of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja to return to the team.
“There is very healthy competition because Ashwin has done tremendously well and Jadeja, too, in Test matches. So, you cant rule them out. But, at the same time, there is one spinner who has taken more than 30 wickets, which is brilliant.”
Speaking further on the performance of the latest spin duo, he said, “Wrist spinners are bowling well, you have to pick their line and length, sometimes they, the south Africans struggle, especially in one-day cricket.
“Wrist spinners always come in handy because they can get turn on any wicket. Kuldeep is showing amazing consistency, I don’t think they picked up his wrong uns.”
Asked about his views on two-time World Cup-winning captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni playing in the 2019 ICC World Cup, Viswanath said, “It looks like the selectors and the team management want to have Dhoni in the side. He still can be very dangerous.”
The country’s title triumph in the recently-concluded U-19 World Cup showed that Indian cricket is in good health, Viswanath said.