'Doesn't matter if Kohli breaks Sachin's record, India need a title': former Pakistan captain
Former Pakistan skipper Rashid Latif has come up with a controversial statement regarding Indian batting great Virat Kohli. Latif says it doesn't matter if Kohli can inch past the legendary Sachin Tendulkar in century count if it doesn't contribute to India winning a major ICC trophy.
Speaking from the Indian fans' perspective, Latif said for all of Kohli's runs, India need him and others to combine in coming out triumphant at a world event. Indian men's team haven't won an ICC title since clinching the 2013 Champions Trophy in UK under MS Dhoni's captaincy.
As Kohli stands 5 ODI tons behind Tendulkar's 49 centuries in the 50-overs game and overall 28 hundreds behind his unprecedented, and unlikely broken, 100 centuries at the international stage, Latif was asked if he sees the Indian batter getting past the 'Master Blaster'.
To this, the ex Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter gave an interesting response, stating that the focus should rather be on how many titles Virat Kohli is managing to win for India with his runs and centuries.
Latif on Kohli-Tendulkar debate
"It is not the time to count the number of centuries. It doesn't matter," Latif was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times. "They need to win a title. It has been years since India won a trophy. Whether Kohli scores 100 centuries or 200, it doesn't matter, what matters to Indian cricket and the fans is a title."
Latif raised the longstanding point stressed by the critics, alluding to the jaw-dropping money generated by Indian cricket via the IPL and bilateral deals and yet the continuing drought of ICC trophies.
"If you look financially, IPL and Indian cricket are far ahead, but now there is pressure from the fans and the media that they want a title. Kohli can score 100 centuries if he wants, but the demand has changed," he said.
"The Asia Cup is gone, so is Champions Trophy, the 2019 World Cup, the last two T20 World Cups. 100 centuries has its own place, but India and the Indian cricket board needs to win a title."
To be fair to Kohli, India's trophy drought is despite his brilliance with the bat in hand. The great batter was India's top scorer at 2014 and 2016 editions of the T20 World Cup, a feat he repeated at the 2022 iteration of the same in Australia recently. In between, Kohli also batted with command and control during the 2015 and 2019 World Cups for India in the 50-overs game.