The India-Australia series serves as a warm-up for the T20 World Cup to be hosted by Australia next month, and star batter Virat Kohli would look to continue his stellar form. The former India captain recently struck his 71st international century after a prolonged lean patch, which even had experts and fans questioning his place in the current set-up. Against Afghanistan in the just-concluded Asia Cup, Kohli stood unbeaten on 122 off 61 deliveries, helping India end the tournament with a dominant win. The hotly-anticipated 71st hundred – his first-ever in T20 Internationals – came after a gap of 1,020 days, but it shrugged off his extended dry run in world cricket.
Kohli entered the competition after a month-long break from tours of the West Indies and Zimbabwe. He finished with 276 runs in five matches, which was a clear indicator of him finding lost mojo. He also hit two half-centuries against Hong Kong and then Pakistan, before notching up his 71st hundred, which put him alongside Ricky Ponting in list of most international centuries. Legendary Sachin Tendulkar leads the panel, having scored 100 hundreds at the biggest stage.
Ponting has shared his views on Kohli equalling his hundreds tally and whether the Indian can now surpass Tendulkar’s staggering record. The ex-Australia captain said scoring 30 more internationals is going to take a lot of work but added that you can never say never, especially after looking at Kohli’s hunger to score runs.
“If you would have asked me three years ago, I’d have said yes,” said Ponting in ICC Review. “But the fact that it has slowed down as much as it did… yeah, I still think that it is possible for him, there’s no doubt. I still think he has got a number of years ahead of him, but I guess to still be 30 international hundreds behind, that’s a lot. That’s five or six Test hundreds a year maybe for the next three or four years.”
“If you throw a couple of one-day ones, maybe the odd T20 ones on top of it. Look, I’ll never say never with Virat because you know once he gets on a bit of a roll, you know how hungry he is and how keen for the success he is. I’ll never say never that’s for sure,” he added.
Before this year’s World T20, Kohli will face Australia and then South Africa in two white-ball assignments. He has been selected for both home series but Ponting feels he still needs to decide whether he needs another break before the showpiece event.
“Yes, that’s a really good question and that’s probably a question only he could answer. It’s just going to depend on how he is feeling mentally again,” Ponting said.
“When you’re playing, you don’t even realise how tired you are till you do take a step back because you’re always bluffing yourself and convincing yourself that you are 100 per cent right physically and mentally.”
“Sometimes you’re nowhere near that. And I think Virat has actually come out and said that as well that, he just didn’t realise sort of how bad a space he was in until he got that extended break. If he keeps scoring runs now, I’m sure he’ll play the next series. If he plays that and plays well and starts getting on a bit of a role, I think he’ll want to keep playing. He’d want to keep that momentum going,” added the Australia legend.