Former India batter Sanjay Manjrekar was asked to give his opinion on the greatest of all time (GOAT) ODI batter and if Virat Kohli was the one he chose. This comes after Kohli closed in Sachin Tendulkar’s record of most ODI centuries-49, with his 46th ton against Sri Lanka recently.
Kohli, after a century-less three-year period, is on a spree scoring three tons in 6 ODIs and now is just 4 short of breaking Sachin Tendulkar’s record. Sanjay Manjrekar said Virat Kohli is right up there in terms of the rankings for the best modern-day ODI batter.
However, he said that none of them can come close to West Indies great Sir Viv Richards as he labeled him as the greatest batter of all-time in the 50-over format of the game. He also spoke about names like MS Dhoni, apart from Tendulkar and Kohli.
Richards is considered to be a path breaker in the early ages of ODI cricket played 187 matches and made 6721 runs at an average of 47 and strike-rate of 90.20. He made 11 centuries and 45 half-centuries in his career with the best score of 189*.
He also won the 1975 and 1979 World Cups with West Indies, scoring a century in the final of the 1979 World Cup triumph.
"When you look at the modern era, in the last 20 years or so, Virat Kohli is right up there. Tendulkar also one of the time all-time greats. Virat Kohli, in my book just fits in as a pure one-day player. MS Dhoni is another player that comes to my mind," Manjrekar told Star Sports.
"But, all-time one-day batter, there is nobody who can get close to Sir Vivian Richards. Now this might seem a little old-fashioned. Viv Richards played from 70s to 90s in a time when all top-class batters, people like Gordon Greenidge averaged about 30 and strike rate in the 60s. Viv Richards, from 70s to 90s, including a World Cup final hundred, averaged 47 and a strike rate of 90. The second-best in his era was second-best by a long way.
"And that's how you compare all-time greats, that's the best way to do it. But, in the modern era, when it comes to Virat Kohli, certainly right up there," he added.
Manjrekar admitted that for the younger fans of the game, it is hard to recall players from the past and take their heroics into consideration when deciding on the all-time great in ODIs.
"Fans who are watching are mostly watching today's cricket. When you look at polls in white-ball cricket, you will have most players who have played recently. One-dayers...Viv Richards, have the time and take a look at his numbers and compare with the current lot and also with the lot that he played with. When you talk about match-winning innings, there were plenty.
Virat Kohli, in the modern era, right up there. All time, absolutely no doubt in my mind about Sir Viv," he added.
Kohli has scored 12,773 runs at an average of 57.79 in ODIs and is in the top 5 of all-time run-scorers in the 50-over format of the game.
(Star Sports inputs)