24-year-old Virat Kohli said he would match Sachin Tendulkar's ODI record, reveals Oakley chief

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Ashwin Krishnan, head of marketing at Oakley, recalled a young Virat Kohli confidently expressing he would reach Sachin Tendulkar's landmark figure of 49 ODI centuries when he was just 24 years old. Krishnan went on to talk about Kohli's ongoing lean patch and the potential cause for the same.

Two things Virat Kohli has never been short of are talent and confidence. Ever since he was an up-and-coming youngster in Delhi, everyone and their dog knew the batsman was shaping up to be someone special. His victory in the U-19 World Cup only went on to cement the claims of Kohli being an extraordinary batsman. A decade and a half later, the former Indian skipper's record speaks for itself as the 33-year-old has justified everyone that championed his talent giving India many reasons to celebrate.

However, such is the greatness of the man, that the Delhite has still not matched the celestial expectations given his abilities. Kohli presently has 43 ODI centuries and 27 Test hundreds to his name, with his tally of 70 being only second best in the game's history to Sachin Tendulkar's astronomical 100 hundreds. The fact that the top-order batter was always aware of the heights he could scale speaks volumes about the sheer confidence he has in his abilities. Oakley head of marketing Ashwin Krishnan has revealed a 24-year-old Virat Kohli had confidently claimed he would match Sachin's record of 49 ODI centuries since he only had to score 40 more at the time.

"That Virat Kohli's one-day record is phenomenal is an understatement. And he is inching closer to that record of Sachin's - whether he gets there or not that's not the point. I will tell you a little story. In 2013, we went to sign Virat in LA, for Oakley. And we were sitting there. Virat had come with his manager Bunty and I had come down from Mumbai. I was doing the Champions League and has gone down just to sign him. And sitting there, as a 24-year-old with 9 ODI hundreds under his belt, he sat down and said, 'One-Day mein toh main paaji (Sachin) ko pakad loonga. Paaji had 49 hundreds," he told Jamie Alter on his Glance chat show, The Alternate View.


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Perhaps the best part of the tale is that not once did anyone doubt Kohli's potential to achieve what he said. After all, in 2019 he looked to be cruising well beyond Tendulkar's record having stacked up 43 centuries in the 50-over-format at the raw age of 31. It looked like a mere formality for him to become the first cricketer ever to reach the magic figure of 50 centuries but a drop in form has since kept the man from adding to his tally. Nevertheless, there's still a long road ahead for Kohli given his fitness levels and should he pick up his form anytime soon, there is no doubting he will end up getting what he desired.

"For a boy sitting there and saying I'll get 40 one-day hundreds, just like that - not to mention the Test hundreds that he had - goes to show his confidence. So when somebody says Virat Kohli is out of form, I say 'No, he is not out of form'. Just his mind is not in the right place. He is exactly the Virat Kohli he was. You cannot take away from a man of that quality. You cannot," Krishnan claimed.

The Indian talisman is next expected to be in action for the Men in Blue in the Asia Cup set to begin next month in the UAE.

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