Ponting predicts bigger things for Kohli at World Cup

Ponting predicts bigger things for Kohli at World Cup

According to Australia great Ricky Ponting, in-form India star Virat Kohli may up his game even more during the remainder of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup now that he has equaled Sachin Tendulkar’s record for most ODI hundreds.

On his 35th birthday, Kohli equaled Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI centuries with a brilliant individual ton against South Africa, and the India dynamo now has 543 runs at this World Cup at an imposing average of 108.60.

But Ponting predicts even bigger things for Kohli at the World Cup, with the former Australia captain expecting the India right-hander to play with more freedom now that he has surpassed Tendulkar.

“That might be a bit of a monkey off his back,” Ponting said of Kohli’s innings on the latest episode of Digital Daily, speaking with ICC Digital Insider Tanvi Shah.

“I believe he has worked extra hard to equal Sachin’s record.”

“That’s done now, and it happened at a really good time for him at the tournament.”

“They have one more game before moving on to the semi-finals.”

“It was an almost perfect day for Virat and a great day for India.”

Kohli’s century against South Africa was his second of the tournament and fourth in all 50-over World Cups, and it only adds to his case as one of the greatest players of all time.

However, Ponting believes Kohli has held that title for some time and should be considered the greatest batter of all time.

“There is no doubt he is the absolute best and I have said that for a long time,” Ponting said.

“He didn’t have to equal Sachin’s record, and he doesn’t have to break it.”

“Look at his overall batting record. It’s incredible.”

“To think that he got 49 ODI hundreds and equalled Sachin and in 175 less innings is unbelievable.”

While Kohli and his teammates will receive much of the credit for India’s unbeaten run in the World Cup, Ponting emphasized the importance of their bowlers in many of their resounding victories.

South Africa’s star-studded batting lineup was skittled for 83 on Sunday, and only two teams have batted out their 50 overs against India in the tournament’s first eight games.

India now has three players among the top ten wicket-takers in the tournament – Mohammad Shami (16), Jasprit Bumrah (15), and Ravindra Jadeja (14) – and Ponting believes opposition teams will have their work cut out for them in trying to contain the potent bowling attack.

“What we have seen in this World Cup so far, is that India’s bowling attack has clearly been the best,” he said.

“Opposition teams will have to put a lot of thought into how they play Bumrah, how they play (Mohammed) Siraj, because 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.”


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