KOHLI is demonstrating his value as an ODI anchor who can pick up speed in the final few overs, like he did just recently.
It’s an interesting exercise to discuss who the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) is in any discipline, let alone sports. However, every great person is supported by a former great. Messi should wear Diego Maradona’s. On Garry Kasparov’s side, Magnus Carlsen. Or Kohli using Sachin Tendulkar’s. To be the best and get that title on a global scale basis is much better.
Kohli, however, recently asserted that he is not present to demonstrate anything. He says he is there to enjoy himself and not be sad, playing every game as if it were his last.
He scored his third 100 in an ODI in the past four innings, this time against Sri Lanka in Thiruvananthapuram. However, such phrases are a little misleading. After the first century in that run, which came against Bangladesh last month, there was a Test series, and Kohli acknowledged that things there didn’t quite go as planned for him.
Then he scored another century against Sri Lanka in the opening ODI. It wasn’t perfect even though it was an aggressive inning. On both 52 and 81, he received a respite.
His performance on Sunday, though, was flawless as he scored an undefeated 166 off 110 balls. He was more detached than ever. Only when he chipped Lahiru Kumara toward long-on on run 82 did he appear to be about to be removed. Despite the fielder’s jump, the ball went over for a six even though he was a few yards inside the boundary line.
It just took Kohli 37 more balls to complete his 46th ODI century after reaching his half-century in 48 balls. He may even top Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI hundreds before the end of the year, becoming the first batsman to score 50.
In the first ODI as well, Kohli batted with a comparable strike rate. In 47 balls and 80, respectively, he had raised his fifty and his hundred. However, he appeared to be out of gas after that. Sunday, however, was an exception. In fact, he effortlessly shifted up a gear. Three fours and seven sixes were hit in the 25 balls that he faced after reaching his hundred. Rajitha hit a slower ball with a helicopter shot for one of the sixes.
For his third fifty, he just needed 21 balls. Only Ishan Kishan’s 103-ball double-century against Bangladesh last month’s opponent surpassed his 150 off 106 balls as the second-fastest 150 for India. The total number of sixes hit by Kohli in this ODI was eight.
There might not be room for an anchor in a contemporary T20 lineup. However, there are in ODIs. at least right now.
Since an innings in ODI games lasts more than twice as long as it does in T20 games, wickets are given more importance. With the aid of an anchor holding one end, power batters can participate in their game. If the anchor can pick up speed in the closing moments like he did in Thiruvananthapuram, Kohli becomes significant.
Prior to the 2022 Asia Cup, Kohli went three years without registering a single international hundred. From the conclusion of the England tour to the start of the Asia Cup, Kohli had a 42-day break from cricket, which he believes is the only reason for his current form.
He will want to stay there for as long as possible, and so will India.