Sachin's promise to record-breaking Kohli
The shattering of one of his long-standing world records by the current India skipper will be cause for celebration, says the Little Master
24 April 2018, 11:22 AM AEST
Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar turns 45 today but he will be the one handing out presents should Virat Kohli go where no ODI player has gone before.
Kohli, still only 29, is clear second on the list of all-time centuries in the 50-over international format, having accumulated 35 at a rate far superior to anyone to have played the game previously.
Since the beginning of 2017 alone, the Indian captain has added another nine ODI hundreds to his name, bringing his tally to 35 and overtaking legendary duo Ricky Ponting (30) and Sanath Jayasuriya (28) in the process.
The lone figure looming above him now is Tendulkar, whose 49 ODI hundreds was thought by many to have been a record that would never be broken; now it appears only a matter of time.
Asked at a book launch if he would send 50 bottles of champagne to Kohli if he reached 50 ODI centuries, Tendulkar said he would enjoy a bottle with the world's No.1 ODI batsman instead.
"I will go and share a bottle with him if he breaks my record," he said.
"I won't send him champagne bottles; I will go there and share it with him."
Speaking with cricket.com.au in 2016, Kohli said Tendulkar's influence on him as a cricketer had been "massive".
"I started playing cricket because of him," he said. "I got inspired to do things that he did for the country.
"I always visualised myself in those situations and I was lucky enough to be a part of the same changeroom (as him) when I was starting and he was still around.
"He really helped me with little things that I could improve in my game. If he saw something he would come up to me himself and tell me, 'This is something you can work on', which is quite rare; you don't (often) have people of his stature come and talk to youngsters like that, pointing out things like that.
"So he always gave you confidence.
"I batted with him a few times as well, we had some big partnerships, and that for me is the most special thing I could have asked for."
Last week, Kohli was named in TIME Magazine's most influential people of 2018, and fittingly, it was Tendulkar who was asked to pen the tribute piece.
"The U19 World Cup in 2008 was very important for India, as it would define the next bunch of youngsters who would go on to represent the nation," Tendulkar wrote.
"That was the first time I watched this young, passionate player lead India.
"Today Virat Kohli is a household name and a champion in cricket. Even back then, his hunger for runs and consistency was remarkable, something that has become the hallmark of his game.
"Every sportsman knows what it's like to have good spells and bad ones too.
"Virat took the criticism he faced during a disappointing West Indies series (in 2016) and returned home with a goal: to improve not only his technique, but also his fitness level. He's never looked back.
"My father always told me that if I focused on what I was doing, over time, detractors would become followers.
"Virat seems to have a similar outlook when it comes to his game."