Kohli has amassed 50 hundreds in ODIs, 29 hundreds in Tests, and one hundred in T20Is, for an overall total of 80 scores above 100. In Wednesday’s World Cup semifinal match against New Zealand in Mumbai, Kohli had surpassed Tendulkar’s record of 49 one-day hundreds.
“Who would have thought when Sachin Tendulkar got 100 hundreds that anyone would come close? And, he’s got 80; 80 international hundreds, 50 of them in the one-day game, which makes him the highest. Unreal,” said Shastri during The ICC Review.
“Nothing’s impossible because such players, when they start reeling off hundreds, then they score them pretty quickly. His next 10 innings, you might see another five hundreds.
“You have three formats of the game, and he’s part of all those formats. To think that he still has three or four years of cricket ahead of him is simply mind-boggling.”
Shastri was also in awe of Kohli’s ability to soak in the pressure.
“I think his composure, his body language, his calmness at the crease (in this WC). I have seen him come out in previous World Cups where he’s like a cat on a hot tin roof.
“He wanted to get on with it straight away. None of that sort here. He’s taken his time, marked his guard, soaked the pressure, given himself time, and understood his role of batting deep in the innings. He’s just been wonderful,” he added.
Having worked closely with Kohli throughout his tenure as coach, Shastri said that he can run freely between the wickets because he maintains his peak level of fitness with a strict diet that includes cardio and fitness control.
“One of the features of his batting has been his running between the wickets. The fact that he doesn’t have to hit boundaries and sixes, he can run hard between the wickets because of his physical fitness.
“That takes the pressure off him. Even when he’s not getting the boundaries, he’s still rotating the strike. He always has that uncanny ability of making it up towards the back end of the innings,” he added.
Shastri went into further detail on Kohli’s batting practice, which consists of a mix of mental adjustments, technical tweaks, and physical conditioning.
“It’s a mix of all three. (It) gives him some time to be calm and composed at the beginning of the innings.
“His shot selection in the first 10-15 runs, he doesn’t take that extra risk. He’s quite prepared to leave deliveries, knock the ball around,” he noted.
(With PTI inputs)