1st ODI: Focus on Kohli as batter aims to surpass Dravid, join Ganguly
- Kohli needs a hundred to become the joint-second in terms of hundreds scored in the India-South Africa bilateral series
- Kohli currently has 43 ODI hundreds, one more ton will take him closer to Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI centuries
- Kohli is 113 runs short of completing 1000 runs in South Africa
Virat Kohli will take the field on Wednesday as a top-order batter in the first ODI at Paarl against South Africa. It will be Kohli’s first ODI game only as a team member, not as a captain in seven years.
At Paarl, Kohli will look to hit his 44th ODI hundred which will bring him closer to Sachin Tendulkar’s all-time record in the format. Tendulkar scored 49 ODI hundreds in 463 matches. If Kohli hit his first hundred in three years at Paarl, it will also be his 71st ODI ton, placing him joint-second alongside legendary Ricky Ponting.
With this ton, he will become the joint-second alongside Tendulkar (5) and Quinton de Kock (5) in terms of hundreds scored in the India-South Africa bilateral ODI series. Former South Africa cricketer AB de Villiers currently holds the numero uno position with six centuries.
Kohli, with 1287 runs, is the fourth-highest run-scorer against South Africa among Indian batters. In the Paarl ODI, if he scores 26 runs or more, he will surpass head coach Rahul Dravid (1309 runs) and Sourav Ganguly (1313 runs) to become the second-highest Indian run-getter after Sachin's tally of 2001 runs.
Kohli aims to join Ganguly in an exclusive list
The former India captain, meanwhile, will need 113 runs to become only the third Indian batter to score 1000-plus runs in four or more countries. Kohli so far scored 887 runs in South Africa.
So far in India, he scored 4994 runs in India, 1316 runs in England and 1327 runs in Australia. He will hence surpass Dravid, MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma to stand joint-second alongside Ganguly with the most 1000-plus ODI run tallies in a single country. Sachin stands atop having achieved the feat in six different countries.
All eyes will be on Kohli on Wednesday at Paarl. The Indian superstar has recently given up T20I and Test captaincy and was removed from ODI captaincy. Kohli last scored his international century against Bangladesh at Kolkata during a pink-ball Test in 2019. During the recently concluded South Africa Test series, he scored only one half-century in the Cape Town Test.