Indian captain Virat Kohli has now raked up 43 ODI hundreds in his career that began in 2008. The world record for most ODI hundreds currently rests with, who else, Sachin Tendulkar. The Little Master has 49 centuries in the 50-over format of the game.
So, it's only a matter of time before Virat breaks Sachin's record and performs the unprecedented and unforeseen feat of scoring a half-century of centuries in the ODI game. But when is that momentous occasion going to arrive? When will Virat overtake Sachin's record – the same record which most people had judged to be unbeatable?
Currently, Kohli's record stands at 43 hundreds in 239 matches. This means he scores a hundred, on an average, every 5.55 matches. So, approximately, he would need 33 more matches to equal the record of Master Blaster.
Rich vein of form
However, Kohli's overall record doesn't take into consideration the purple patch that he has found himself in since 2016. Especially in the last couple of years, the rate of his run-scoring has shot through the roof and Virat has been churning out hundreds with ridiculous ease.
So, going by his current run of form, the Indian captain may not need 33 matches. Perhaps 20-25 would be enough. However, form isn't permanent. Better bowling attacks may come up with more effective strategies to counter Kohli. So, there is also the possibility of Kohli actually suffering a slight dip in form and taking more than 40 matches to get to Sachin's mark.
So, by when can we expect Kohli to reach the coveted milestone? In all likelihood, he would be well past the 50 centuries mark by the time next World Cup comes up. But all those Kohli fans who think the record will be reached this year itself may have to face disappointment. In all likelihood, the 30-year old won't reach the mark earlier than 2021. If you are not convinced by this assertion or are a bit angry with it, let us explain why this prognosis is there.
Indian team's schedule
As per the Indian team's current schedule, their next ODI series would be in December of this year. That would only be a three match contest against West Indies. Then, Men in Blue play three ODIs each in every one of the first three months of 2020. In January, they will be against Australia; in February, against New Zealand; and vs South Africa in March. After that, IPL would take place. Later in the year, from October 2020, the World T20 would be played.
India are expected to play three ODIs each against Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and England between the end of the series against South Africa in March and the World T20 in October.
Now, Kohli can be expected to produce at least one more ton in December 2019 against the West Indians. But South Africa, New Zealand, Australia may not be all that easy to score centuries against, though Kohli has plundered runs against all of them before.
Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe should be easy meat for India but it is very likely that the boy from Delhi would be rested for these series. With the World T20 approaching, India wouldn't like to tire Kohli out and certainly not by playing him in a different format. Besides, Zimbabwe may not even be allowed to play due to all the political troubles.
Overall, of all the teams India face in the coming months and next year, New Zealand in New Zealand may be the toughest contest. South Africa, if they are at their best, could also pose a serious challenge.
As per the schedule, India have to play 21 ODIs till the end of next year. As already stated, Kohli is unlikely to play all of them. He will also find it hard to sustain this level of form. Hence, it can be said in conclusion that Kohli's 49th and 50th hundreds are not likely to come before 2021. Six hundreds in 21 matches is very difficult, even for a force of nature like Virat.
So, don't lose patience if you are a Kohli fan and give him a little more time. But then again, he has crossed all limits of form in recent times. Who knows, he may extend this purple patch and get to the 50-ton mark faster than what everyone expects!