Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has once again hailed Virat Kohli, saying that India captain is the only player who can break Sachin Tendulkar’s record of hundred hundreds.
In the first Test against Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, Kohli hit his 50th overall hundred and almost helped India pulled out an improbable win.
“Virat Kohli is a modern-day great. When it comes to run chases, no one has ever shown better understanding of pacing an innings. Yes he has 50 international centuries now. I think he is the only player who can break Tendulkar’s record. But there is no pressure on him. He should just go out there and enjoy the game. He should just look after himself,” said the former Pakistan pacer.
The 29-year-old has 18 Tests and 32 ODI tons in 263 matches (61 Tests and 202 ODIs). He has also played 55 T20Is, but is yet to hit an international century in the shortest format of the game.
For Kohli to surpassed Tendulkar’s record of hundred international centuries, he will need to play international cricket for a long time. Kohli made his debut in an ODI match against Sri Lanka in August 2008, and is close to completing a decade in international cricket.
There, Akhtar invoked former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq’s name to inspire Kohli.
“If Misbah-ul-Haq can play until 43, I am sure Virat can play until he is 44. If he plays that long and if he continues to score the way he is doing now, I have no doubt that he is the only one who can do it. In fact, he can hit 120 centuries,” he added.
For the record, Tendulkar took 24 years to become the most successful batsman of all time. But Akhtar said that it’s not justified to compare between Tendulkar and Kohli.
“But comparing him to Sachin is not justified. Sachin was an all-time great. In today’s era, Virat Kohli is the greatest batsman,” he said.
In a career plagued by injuries and controversies, Akhtar played 46 Tests, 163 ODIs and 15 T20Is, taking 178, 247 and 19 wickets respectively.