On Thursday, not just for Virat Kohli but for everyone in cricket, the protracted wait came to an end. For 1019 days and 83 innings across formats, Kohli waited for his next century, his 71st in international cricket, after his last three-figure performance in November 2019. And it arrived in a way Kohli least anticipated. Shoaib Akhtar, a cricketing icon from Pakistan who had pushed Virat Kohli to break his century drought, praised Kohli’s remarkable comeback before warning him sternly and pushing him to match Sachin Tendulkar’s greatest-ever achievement in international cricket.

Kohli once seemed to be destined to surpass Sachin’s elusive total of 100 hundred across all forms. In addition to shattering each of Sachin’s prior records, Kohli was racking up hundreds at will. That was all before he went through an unexpected period in his career, which cast doubt on his ability to recover and subsequently come close to matching Sachin’s accomplishment with each passing day.

But now that Kohli has the monkey off his back, the goal has been reset, and Akhtar acknowledged on his YouTube channel that the following 29 hundred will be the hardest and determine his level of brilliance.

Remember that “this 30-odd century will be tough to come,” he urged, “but don’t lose courage because you will end up being the best of all time. So keep pushing yourself.” He added, “Virat Kohli, you have always spoken the truth and wonderful things will happen with you.

Virat is the best hitter of all time, but getting to his next 29 hundred will be difficult for him since it took him 900 days to get from scoring 70 to scoring 71 tonnes, according to me.

As India looks to finish off their preparation for the T20 World Cup, Kohli is most likely to play in the limited-overs series against Australia and South Africa at home.