Kolkata, Nov 6: Former Australia cricketer and two-time World Cup winning captain Ricky Ponting believes a monkey is off Virat Kohli’s back after equalling with legendary India batter Sachin Tendulkar for the most number of centuries in ODIs.
At the Eden Gardens on Sunday, Kohli equalled Tendulkar's record of 49 ODI centuries with a brilliant 101 not out against South Africa on his 35th birthday, as India won by 243 runs to keep its winning run going. Kohli now has a total of 543 runs at this edition of the Men’s ODI World Cup at a gigantic average of 108.60.
"That might be a bit of a monkey off his back. I think he has been working extra hard to equal Sachin’s record. That’s done now and it has happened at a really good time at the tournament for him. One more game to go and then they head into the semi-finals. It was an almost perfect day for Virat and a great day for India," said Ponting in an ICC Digital Daily episode.
The century against South Africa in Kolkata was Kohli's second hundred of the tournament and fourth overall in all Men’s ODI World Cups. Ponting feels Kohli should be considered the best ODI batter of all time.
"There is no doubt he is the absolute best and I have said that for a long time. He didn’t need to equal Sachin's record, he doesn’t need to break the record. If you look at his overall batting record it is incredible. To think that he got 49 ODI hundreds and equalled Sachin and in 175 less innings is unbelievable,” he added.
After India posted 326/5, Ravindra Jadeja took 5-33 as South Africa were bowled out for 83 in 27.1 overs, thus maintaining their clean slate in the competition. India now have three bowlers among the top 10 wicket-takers of the tournament - Mohammad Shami (16), Jasprit Bumrah (15) and Jadeja (14).
Ponting believes opposition teams have their task cut out in the quest to counter a ferocious challenge from the Indian bowling line-up. India still have their final league match against the Netherlands at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on November 12.
"What we have seen in this World Cup so far, is that India’s bowling attack has clearly been the best. Opposition teams are going to have to put a lot of analysis into how they play Bumrah, how they are going to play (Mohammed) Siraj, as they need to get on top of these guys early. Because if they don’t, their spinners will come and get you in the middle of the game," concluded Ponting. (IANS)