On Sunday night, the Virat Kohli-led Indian ODI team executed their first-ever clean sweep in Sri Lanka – demolishing the hosts 5-0. This came a month after completing a first-ever 0-3 Test Series sweep. Kohli scored two more ODI centuries in this series and came full circle as a captain. He had begun his full-time test captaincy stint two years ago in Sri Lanka, where India lost the first match, but came back to win the final two tests and the series.
‘Virat Kohli records’ is a comforting phrase in world cricket these days, right up there with mind-boggling Virat Kohli stats and Virat Kohli centuries. Even at the age of 28, Kohli’s batting breaks world records in almost every second series – or at least promises the breaking of some seriously unbreakable records. Indian minds are inherently obsessed with statistics and have always equated greatness with numbers. It happened in Sachin Tendulkar’s case, but with Kohli, it seems to be more than just plain numbers. He has elevated limited-overs batting to another plane – a domain previously owned by Tendulkar for decades. And he is the Indian captain too, in all three formats – and none of it seems to have affected his batting yet.
Here are nine World Records we believe Virat Kohli will smash – and hold indefinitely – by the end of his cricketing career. There will be no individual highest scores in any formats because Kohli’s story is that of sustained greatness:
Most ODI Centuries
On Sunday, Kohli scored his 30th ODI century. In doing so, he equaled Ricky Ponting’s career record – the second highest ever behind Sachin Tendulkar’s 49 centuries. Ponting did it in 375 ODI matches; this was Kohli’s 186th ODI innings. Tendulkar’s 49 came in a record 463 matches – he took 81 more innings than Kohli to reach 30 centuries. At the rate Kohli is going (1 century every 6 innings or so), he will score 20 more centuries in only 125 more innings. That is, by the time he plays 300 ODI matches, he will have broken Tendulkar’s stunning record. By the time he plays 463 ODI matches – a possibility given a number of cricket teams play these days – he will have scored close to 75 ODI centuries alone. Tendulkar’s 49 centuries is a record Kohli will most certainly shatter. Nobody else is close; Steve Smith has scored only 8 ODI centuries, while Joe Root has scored 10.
Kohli has already broken Tendulkar’s record of second-innings centuries and centuries in
Second Innings Centuries chases. Kohli has 19 centuries (out of 30) while chasing, compared to Tendulkar’s 17. Kohli’s 17 centuries in a successful chase (Tendulkar had 14) is also a world record that isn’t likely to be beaten. Kohli could end with at least 33 centuries while chasing, out of which 30 are likely to be successful ones. The bar has been raised and how!
Highest ODI and T20 Average Ever
Kohli has averaged 92 in ODI cricket in 2017. He has averaged a miraculous 281 in 10 successful chases over the last year, including 4 centuries and 4 fifties. Averages and Kohli go together, given that he chases down so many targets from No. 3 in the batting order. After the 5-0 sweep, he averages a stunning 55.75 in ODI cricket over more than 8500 runs in less than 200 matches. To put things into perspective, no top-order batsman has ever finished a career with an average of more than 50. MS Dhoni averages 52 right now, and Michael Hussey finished on 48.4. Michael Bevan is the closest, finishing his ODI career with a stunning average of 53.5 – in an era when nobody came close to 45. But Bevan, Hussey and Dhoni are middle-order batsmen, which means they have more not-outs than Kohli does. Kohli could finish his career with an even higher average, but his current average is a world record – and is likely to end as one.
His international T20 batting average of 53, too, is a record right now. He has aced the format more than anyone over the last five years – including in IPL cricket, where he has single-handedly defied his team Royal Challengers Bangalore’s dipping fortunes. Kohli has finished as Man of the Series in two consecutive World T20 Championships (2014, 2016) for India – a feat likely to be never repeated again either. Given that it is a shorter format, Kohli has remained unbeaten in chases even more and has 15 fifties without a century to his name. Most of these fifties are unbeaten and in chases.
Most International Centuries Ever
Kohli currently has 30 ODI centuries and 17 Test centuries. He isn’t the best Test batsman in the world yet – Steve Smith has 20 centuries with an era-defining average of 60. Kohli averages only 49 in test cricket. But Kohli has played 60 test matches already and is likely to lead the team for many more years in this format, given his success rate. He has a total of 47 international centuries so far. Tendulkar ended his career on 100 – 49 ODI and 51 Test centuries. While Kohli might never score 51 test centuries, he is likely to score many more ODI centuries, a few T20 centuries and is in a position to break the 100-century barrier. He is almost halfway there in 8 years, and he has at least 9 years of batting left to do. And he will only improve in test cricket. Do the math.
Most Victories as ODI and Test Captain
Kohli has been the Indian Test captain for more than two years now. Under him, India has already won 19 out of their 29 matches. He is only two away from Saurav Ganguly’s number (21) and 8 away from MS Dhoni’s Indian record (27 in 60 matches). Graeme Smith holds the world record for most wins as captain (50 in 108 matches), while Steve Waugh has 41 (in 57 matches) and Ricky Ponting has 48 (in 77 matches). Kohli’s team has however played most of the test matches in the subcontinent since he took over, which explains his high success rate. They are yet to travel to South Africa, Australia, and England under him as full-time captain. However, if Team India capitalize on the promise they have shown, Kohli is likely to eclipse the 50 Test Wins as Captain record in the next decade. It’ll be a pity if they keep playing teams like Sri Lanka and West Indies for this record – but Kohli is doing his job against the weaker standards. He only recently took over as full-time ODI captain too. He has a superb 27 wins out of 35 in the format and isn’t likely to break the most number of matches as captain (Smith’s 108 is unbeatable). But could well beat Ponting’s 164 victories as captain over the next decade. This will be down to the number of bilateral series India plays at home too. India has already won three clean sweeps under him in this short period; Dhoni had two, and Gambhir had one.
Most ODI Runs Ever
Kohli is on 8587 runs in 194 ODI internationals. He is less than halfway to Tendulkar’s world record of 18426 runs. Sangakkara finished with 14234 runs, while Ponting and Jayasuriya finished with 13704 and 13430 runs each. Each of them played more than or close to 400 ODI matches. The way Kohli is going, he could double his tally (17000 runs) by 360 matches. And if he plays 400 – which is very likely – he could well break Tendulkar’s record and finish with close to 20,000 ODI runs in his career. It’s mind-boggling to think of, but Kohli is the most capable limited-overs batsman of his generation.
Most ODI Runs In A Calendar Year
Kohli has crossed 1000 ODI runs in a year five times already in his short career. Tendulkar holds the record with 7 thousand-plus years, while Ganguly, Sangakkara, and Ponting have done it 6 times. Kohli is likely to end on at least 9 times, given that even his lowest-scoring years have at least 900 runs. This year, too, he has a chance to overtake Tendulkar’s annual record of 1894 (in 1998), given that Kohli has 7 ODIs to play against Australia at home before the end of the season.
Most Runs/Centuries as Captain
Kohli already has 1867 runs as ODI captain with 8 centuries in just 35 matches. He has 2560 runs as Test captain with 10 centuries in just 29 matches. His batting has been elevated to a different level as a leader. Ponting holds the ODI record for runs as captain with 8497 runs and 22 centuries, while Graeme Smith holds the test record with 8659 runs and 25 centuries. A majority of Kohli’s remaining career will be as the leader of the Indian team and there is no reason he can’t break both these records by the time he turns 35, and if he is injury-free. He is a long-term captain, much like Dhoni was.
Most Double Tons in Test Cricket
Kohli last year scored four double centuries in four consecutive Test series. Don Bradman holds the record with 12, with Kumara Sangakkara on 11 and Brian Lara on 9. Kohli’s hunger for big centuries in the longer format could mean that he will flay bowling attacks even as he crosses the century mark. He could very well finish with more than 12 double tons by the end of his career. He really capitalizes on form and rarely throws away his wicket.