Former Australia fast bowler Brett Lee feels Virat Kohli has what it takes to break Sachin Tendulkar‘s record of a 100 international centuries, but believes it won’t be without the Indian captain being put through a Test, the sternest of which is lasting the rigours of all three formats in international cricket. Also Read - Cricket: Rahul Dravid Predicts 3-2 Scoreline in Team India's 'Best Chance' to Win in England
Kohli, 31, with 43 ODI centuries is already closing on Tendulkar’s record of 49 tons in the format, although the India skipper has some catching up to do in terms of Test hundreds. With 27 centuries, Kohli is still 25 tons away from breaking Tendulkar’s record in Tests, but as far as ODI is concerned, Lee is confident of the record being broken. Also Read - Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma-Less Team India Will Tour Sri Lanka in July For 3 ODIs And 5 T20Is, Confirms Sourav Ganguly
“We are talking about phenomenal numbers here, so you mentioned seven to eight years of cricket and at the rate he (Virat Kohli) is going, yes, he can definitely knock it off,” Lee said during a special two-part episode of Star Sports’ show Cricket Connected that airs on April 25th, 2020 (Part-1 at 7 PM & Part-2 at 9 PM IST on Star Sports 1 & Star Sports 2). Also Read - It Could Have Been 'Ee Sala Cup Namde', RCB Fans Will be Disappointed - Irfan Pathan
“But, how can you say someone can go past Sachin Tendulkar – this is God here, can someone go better than God, we will wait and see.”
However, the impact of the COVID-19 could delay Kohli overtaking Tendulkar’s tally of centuries. With no tentative date regarding a potential resumption of cricket, the wait may get longer. Furthermore, until February it had been five months since Kohli last scored an ODI hundred, although one would still believe it’s only a matter of time before the India captain overtakes Tendulkar.
Lee, however, pointed out that three factors will play a pivotal role over deciding whether Kohli can go past Tendulkar, whom the former quick has dismissed most times in international cricket (14).
“It comes down to three things, there is one thing I would like to eliminate – so, you talk about talent as a batsman, he’s definitely got that talent, eliminate that first and foremost,” he said. “Then fitness – Virat Kohli has got that fitness, so for me it is all about fitness at the age of 30 and also that mental strength, the mental capacity to get through those hard times, being away from home, from his wife, or when they will have children.
“He will do it easily with his talent, it comes down to his mental strength and if he stays fit enough and I believe he has got all those three components to go past Sachin.”