Former Australian fast bowler Brett Lee on Saturday backed Indian captain Virat Kohli to surpass batting great Sachin Tendulkar's record of 100 international centuries, provided he keeps firing for another 7-8 years. The iconic Tendulkar holds the record for highest number of ODI centuries with 49 hundreds and current batting maestro Kohli is second on the list with 43 from 248 matches. In Tests too, Tendulkar leads the tally for most number of hundreds with 51 tons. Kohli has 27 from 86 matches till now.
Lee said it will all boil down to three things -- talent, fitness and metal strength -- and Kohli has all these traits. "One thing that I would like to eliminate is his talent as a batsman. He definitely got that, so we eliminate that. The second will be his fitness. Kohli has surely had that, because for me it's all about fitness.
"Last would be the mental strength and the capacity to get through the hard games and being away from home," Lee said.
"I believe he has all these three components to go past Sachin, but again we are talking about Sachin and how can somebody go past God. So, we just have to wait and watch."
Lee, who has played 76 Tests and 221 ODIs, was speaking on Star Sports show 'Cricket Connected'. The 43-year-old former fast bowler further said, "We are talking about phenomenal numbers here. Give it another seven-eight years of cricket and the way he is going currently, Kohli can definitely knock it off easily."
Tendulkar retired in 2013 after a 24-year glorious career that saw him create a plethora of batting records in top-flight cricket. Since then, Kohli has stepped into Tendukar's role and has been scoring runs at will all over the world.