Virat Kohli is just three centuries away from equalling Sachin Tendulkar's record 49 tons in One-Day Internationals (ODI). After a three-year drought, Kohli scored three ODI centuries in quick succession to bridge the gap. However, former India batter Sanjay Manjrekar believes while Tendulkar and Kohli are great cricketers, he rates the West Indies great Vivian Richards above all of them.
"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 said on 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 further added. But Manjrekar also feels that it is not an easy job to compare players from the past when talking about all-time greats in ODIs.
"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."
Kohli will have a chance to further reduce the gap when India take on New Zealand in the third and final ODI in Indore on Tuesday (January 24). The hosts registered a 12-run win in Hyderabad followed by a comprehensive eight-wicket victory in Raipur to take an unassailable lead in the series.