Former India batting coach Sanjay Bangar feels Virat Kohli has a great chance to reach the 50 ODI hundred mark in 2023 but might not be able to do so. However, Kohli, with 44 ODI hundreds to his name, is only five behind the all-time record holder by the batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar. Notably, his recent ton in the final ODI against Bangladesh was his first century since 2019 as well.
During an interaction on the Star Sports show ‘Game Plan’, Bangar said: “He has done that at a breathtaking pace because to reach 44 hundreds so young in his career is a fabulous achievement. But for me, can he do it this season taking into account the number of games that India have – maybe 26 or 27 if they eventually end up reaching the finals, then obviously there is a realistic chance that he can touch that milestone.”
He continued: “He will have to bat out of his skin because as somebody who is playing all the formats, he will have to take regular breaks. I think the breaks will now be in the T20 format, not so much in the 50-over format. I don’t think he will touch it but he will get pretty close.”
However, Virat Kohli has also been rested for the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka which will begin on January 3. On the other hand, Gautam Gambhir opened up about Kohli’s approach in ODIs going forward.
“I think Virat Kohli can now probably anchor the innings” – Gautam Gambhir
He shared: “First of all, we need to be very clear that now we have got more impactful players as compared to Virat and Rohit. We have got Ishan (Kishan) at the top, we have got Surya (Suryakumar Yadav) who is an impact player. Shreyas Iyer is in the form of his life.”
He also feels that Virat Kohli can play the anchor role and allow the youngsters to bat aggressively at the other end as well. Notably, Virat Kohli had a moderate 2022 in ODI cricket. Although he finished the year with a century, he managed only 302 runs at a below-par average of 27.45 in 11 innings as well.
“So it’s going to take a lot of pressure off Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma which is going to be good for Indian cricket because you can’t just keep talking about Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli needing to do the job, now you have got other guys who can actually win you games single-handedly as well. So I think Virat Kohli can now probably anchor the innings and take the pressure off his shoulders,” he concluded.