The former Indian captain Saurav Ganguly has opined that India’s stylish and aggressive batsman Virat Kohli perhaps will get close to breaking Sachin Tendulkar’s 49 ODI centuries record but the miraculous record of Sachin’s 100 International centuries milestone would remain safe He said, “Virat Kohli, I think will get close to him (Sachin) in one-day cricket. He has reached 22 centuries, he still has 28 more to get to 50 in ODIs. He has to play probably for 10 more years for that, we will have to wait and see.”
During recent times when every other batting record is broken, Ganguly said, “It’s very very safe. I don’t think anybody will ever be able to break that record.”
Fully appreciating India’s turnaround in the World Cup, Ganguly said, “Their form in the recently-concluded Tests and tri-series and that in the World Cup is a massive revelation. Nobody predicted that India would beat South Africa by 130 runs. It’s very unpredictable but India’s form has been a revelation for all of us.”
However, as most of the experts have clarified that in knockout stages, it would be anybody’s game. Ganguly said while refusing to pick final contenders, “If you want a biased answer it would be Australia and India. But if you want a realistic answer then I don’t know because anybody can beat anybody. It’s very very unpredictable. World Cup group stage does not give you a picture of what’s in store in the knockout stages. In this format, every team is beatable on that particular day”.
It is important to add that so far Dhoni has not lost the toss, a vital element in deciding the end result. Keeping in view this Dada said, “Remember India have won the toss twice we have to see when they lose a toss.”
Dada also showed concern that Chris Gayle has recently exploded with a 147-ball 215 in their win over Zimbabwe and Ganguly feels that it could be a cause of concern if they bat first and post 300 total on the bouncy WACA in Perth on March 6. He added, “Look at the West Indies if they win the toss in Perth and they get to 250-300, it’s going to be hard work for India. So it’s very difficult to predict.”
Ganguly has however shortlisted India, South Africa and tournament co-hosts Australia and New Zealand to make the semifinal line-up. He clarified, “India, Australia, New Zealand are looking good and we cannot write off South Africa after just one loss. And in this format, it does not matter what you do in group stages but how you perform in in the quarters, semifinals and final.”
Many of the former cricketers have given their views, but on a personal note, Dada’s realistic assessment looks practical and Team India should avoid to become complacent as the road ahead is really bouncy full of challenges, especially in wake of unpredicted upsets.