Predicting Virat Kohli’s total centuries in international cricket is tricky, especially now.
The cricket is back to its usual glory days after a big Covid break. Virat has been out of his captaincy stint and is back in his prime form after a drought of over 1000 days without any century.
I thought this would be the best time to work on something like this. I have always been fond of cricket stats, tracking and following them like an ardent comic fan who wants to keep every comic character and series in mind. It is always about the numbers. Numbers and cricket go a long way together – in all three dimensions.
That is why I have a separate category in my blog for the cricket stats I cherish.
Virat Kohli is easily the best ODI batsman of the last decade, i.e., from 2009 to 2019. He is way ahead of everyone who played in these ten years. To understand what I am saying, one should read about how well Virat has evolved every year.
The former Indian captain has never been out of his top rank in the ICC ODI rankings from 2017 to 2021. Virat stayed at the pole position for 1258 days. In fact, he is never out of the top 5 ODI batters list since 2010.
His numbers are beyond belief, and so are the stats I believe he can break in the future. One among them is the number of International centuries Virat will end up with when he retires.
Virat currently has 46 ODI centuries and 27 Test centuries to his name. His century count in the limited-overs is only 3 behind the great Sachin Tendulkar.
The Indian Test No.4 might rank 17th in hundreds currently in the longest format, but the speed at which he rises in that list is second to only the insane Don Bradman.
So, in total, Virat has 74 International centuries with 1 T20I century. Let’s predict how many he will end up scoring in each format to make up the total number. Fasten your seat belts.
To know how many ODI Centuries Virat will end up scoring, one should understand how fast Virat scores them at current and predict how long he will play.
He has 46 ODI hundreds in 259 innings, so far.
That is one century every 5.6 innings. But, if you look close, Virat has raised his game to the peak since 2014, and he has one century every 4 games since then. (In the last three years, the number is less than 4).
Let’s fix this number to 5, considering the aging factor. Also, he is out of touch for quite long now. Even though it is not that serious, this is his longest bad phase since 2010.
Now, let’s assume he plays till 2027 World Cup. He will be 39 then, and it is possible he will play till then. It all depends on how India performs at 2023 World Cup, and how playing in all three formats take a toll on his body.
So, it is 5 more years to be taken into account.
Looking at India’s schedule, and the rise of T20s, it is expected that, Virat might play somewhere between 12-18 ODIs in a year. Let’s keep it to the average 15.
That is 15*5 = 75 more innings. Again, this number might go up and down on World Cup years (More ODIs in 2023 and 2027, and fewer ODIs in T20 WC years).
With our prediction of one century in every 5 innings, the number that arrives is 15. So, the final number would be:
46+15 = 61 ODI Centuries
This number might go up and down based on many factors, but I can say this is somewhere close to what we can expect from the chase master.
Even the God of Cricket, Sachin got out in more nervous nineties in his career’s second-half. There are other factors too. We know Virat loves chasing, and his record in chasing is mind-boggling. The number depends on the Tosses also, which makes things more complicated to predict.
Still, I believe 61 is achievable by Virat, and most probably, he ends up somewhere around that.
Thanks to the World Test Championships, Test cricket is more settled now with more context to every series that is played. The good thing about that is with the more fixed schedule, better information on games played.
Teams now play against each other for a place in the Championship finals that is scheduled for once every two years. It was what the greatest format in Cricket needed badly; something to look forward to, and take the game to the current generation. I firmly believe Test cricket can’t survive just with the traditional cricket fans; it needed to be taken to the present lot. Fortunately, the game is on the right path now.
Coming back to our topic, Virat’s number of Test innings in a year ranges from 11 to 24 in the last 8 years. As he is post-captaincy now, he is not expected to play every game. However, it is his favorite format, as he has said that a lot recently, and will continue to play the longest format as long as possible.
India, in total, are playing 18 Tests for the current ongoing Test championship schedule. That is 18 Tests for two years. With the current form the Indian team is, in the home series, they are expected to win more Tests by innings. Virat, as a captain, made a sharp rise up that ladder. He is currently the Indian captain with the most innings win in Test cricket.
Keeping all that in mind, India are expected to play around 28 Test innings in 2 years, which is 14 innings in a year. The number 14 is 3 less than the average of Test innings Virat played in the last 8 years (leaving the COVID affected years). Still, the increase in the number of T20s will justify the number I have taken now.
I expect Virat to play till 2025 World Test Championships. He will be 37 then. He might play till 2027 if he decides to stop playing in the shorter formats after 2023 and represent only one format.
Assuming he plays till 2025, it is 3 more years. So we have the number of years and innings per year with us. And therefore, it is 3*14= 42 more Test innings.
The Indian captain has scored, so far, 27 centuries in his 177 Test innings including the 6 double centuries, that is one century every 6.5 innings. In the years between 2016 and 2019, he scored 12 hundreds in 51 innings, that is one in 4 innings. I would go with the number 6 here for the rest of his career.
One century in 6 innings will bring 7 more Test centuries for Virat in his next 42 Test innings. The final number would be:
27+7= 34 Test centuries.
From our calculation, I can say Sachin’s Test record will be safe, if our prediction becomes a fact.
Virat Kohli currently has only one century in T20 Internationals, which is too low for his standards. Despite this fact, the Indian skipper averages around 50 in T20Is, and statistically the most consistent player of the format too.
With one World Cup in the next two years, the international schedule is filled with more T20 games than ever before. Also, ICC proposing a possible T20 Champions Cup, once in every four years will add more T20 matches in every team’s bilateral tournaments. Along with the T20 World Cups once in 4 years, it is one T20 multi-national tournament every two years.
Virat to his name, has 3750+ scores in T20Is, without a century. Considering his conversion rate in ODIs, it will not take long for Virat to progress these half-centuries to full. The Indian batsman has already raised his natural game in his recent T20 innings to adapt to the game’s nature.
To make things simpler, with all that going around, I predict Virat to score at least 2 more T20I centuries before he steps away from the format.
The Final Count
My predictions on Virat Kohli total centuries before he retires from all format:
ODI Hundreds: 64
Test Hundreds: 41
Final count - 61+34+3 = 98 Centuries in Total.
So that’s my final number. Some of you might think differently. I have arrived at this number after considering a lot, from the aging factor to his conversion rates across all formats so far.
What makes this prediction more complicated is the International schedules and the way ICC is trying to do different things in the game. It will also be dependable on the Indian management’s decisions. With him being more matured and a man of the family now, there are more roles to play for him too. He even hinted in a press interview that he might stop playing one format after 2023.
“My mindset is on the bigger picture as I prepare myself for a rigorous three years from now and after that, we might have a different conversation,”
Kohli replied when asked if he is having second thoughts about quitting at least one format after the 2021 World T20 in India.
Wit all that, we have concluded here. The number I came up with might completely alter with what you have thought of. But it all depends on how the greatest batsman of the era decides to take things forward. After all, it is Virat Kohli we are talking about, the one who is known for his unbelievable run-making skills and doing insane things in the cricket field.