India batter Virat Kohli said that he will never be as good as Sachin Tendulkar after equalling his idol's record for most centuries in ODIs by scoring his 49the hundred in the match against South Africa in the ICC ODI World Cup here, on Sunday.
Kohli marked his birthday with a superb batting performance as he scored his 49th ODI hundred, an unbeaten 101 off 121 deliveries, With this century, he equalled Sachin Tendulkar’s record. When asked about Sachin Tendulkar’s praise for him, which he posted on Twitter, Kohli said that it has been an emotional journey for him and said it means a lot to receive a special message from Tendulkar.
"It's quite special. It's all too much to take for me right now. To equal my hero's record, it's quite special for me. I grew up watching him bat and he's perfection when it comes to batting. I will never be as good as him. He is always going to be my hero whatever happens," Kohli said after Sunday's victory against South Africa at the Eden Gardens here. "It has been an emotional journey for me. I know from where I have come and to stand here and receive that appreciation from him, it means a lot to me," Kohli added.
Kohli reached his 49th hundred in just 277 innings, significantly fewer than Tendulkar's 451. "I had this sense of 'it's going to be something more,' today rather than 'it's just one more game in the World Cup'. I did wake up with that excitement, yes," said Virat Kohli after receiving the ‘Player of the Match’ award.
"It was a big game. We were probably playing the toughest team in the tournament that we had played so far, to be honest. They played some amazing cricket. There was this motivation of wanting to do well for the team. Because it happened on my birthday, people made it a bit more special for me," Kohli said during the post-match presentation on Sunday.
Kohli now has two centuries in the 2023 World Cup to go with four half-centuries in eight league games so far. He is the second-highest run-scorer in the tournament behind South Africa's Quinton de Kock, his 543 runs coming at an average of 108.60 and strike rate of 88.29.
It is the first time he has scored more than 500 runs in an ODI World Cup. The hundred from the star batter helped India set up a massive score of 326 in their 50 overs. In response, South Africa were bundled out for 83 runs, handing India a 243-run win.