Virat Kohli plays 500th international game, becomes 4th Indian to reach the milestone

On Thursday, July 20, Virat Kohli became only the 10th cricketer in history to have played in a total of 500 international games.

He became the fourth Indian to achieve this feat after Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Rahul Dravid.

An international career that traces its origins back to August 2008, the star batter, about 15 years later, has achieved something that not many in the past have. Unsurprisingly, Kohli is still going strong owing to his tremendous hunger for success and the exceptional fitness levels that he has maintained over the years.

Also Read: Virat Kohli Captaincy Record (Tests, ODIs, T20Is, and IPL) – A Statistical Analysis

Among the ten players to have played 500 international games, Kohli is the only active cricketer. The right-handed batsman has played 274 One Day Internationals, 115 T20 Internationals and 111 Tests, including the ongoing second Test between West Indies and India.

At 34 years of age, Virat Kohli has already scored over 25,500 international runs. However, his unending thirst to win games for India is what sets him apart. Nobody in the game's history has chased targets down quite like him. When it comes to being pleasing to the eye, he is right up there. Those magical wrists are probably second to none.

To have over 25 thousand runs in international cricket to your name and still play each game with the same intensity, aggression and passion is a testament to the great man’s love for the game.

Kohli has scored a mind-boggling 46 ODI tons, meaning that he could end his career having scored the most hundreds in the history of this format, overtaking Tendulkar who has 49.

Virat Kohli
Photo by Icon Sport

Players to have played the most international games including Virat Kohlit

Sachin Tendulkar664
Mahela Jayawardene652
Kumar Sangakkara594
Sanath Jayasuriya586
Ricky Ponting560
Mahendra Singh Dhoni538
Shahid Afridi524
Jacques Kallis519
Rahul Dravid509
Virat Kohli500*

In first place, lies Tendulkar, as one would expect. The Little Master took part in a staggering 664 international games. Widely regarded as the greatest ever to play the sport, Tendulkar represented India for almost two decades and a half. In the process, he played 200 Tests, 463 ODIs and just one T20I against South Africa in 2006. With the ICC looking to reduce the number of ODI matches in the future, and with franchise cricket taking over, his record of playing 664 international games seems to be in very safe hands.

The next three spots are all occupied by legendary Sri Lankan cricketers. Mahela Jayawardene has played the second most international games in cricketing history, with 652 caps to his name. He played 149 Tests, 448 ODIs and 55 T20Is in his career, with Test cricket being his strongest suit. He averaged close to 50 and scored over 11,800 Test runs for his country.

Kumar Sangakkara represented Sri Lanka 594 times while Sanath Jayasuriya played 586 international games. Sangakkara bagged more than 28,000 international runs in his career, averaging more than 57 in Test cricket. He also adapted well to white-ball cricket, averaging about 42 across 404 ODIs and over 31 in T20Is.

Jayasuriya, someone who was way ahead of his time with the bat, is arguably one of the most underappreciated players in today's time. With 13,430 ODI runs and 323 ODI wickets, Jayasuriya is one of the most valuable all-rounders ever in the format.

Ricky Ponting and Dhoni, two legendary leaders and two of the greatest cricketing captains ever, also make it to the list. The former Australian skipper played 560 international games and scored 27,483 runs across formats. He led Australia to four ICC titles – the World Cup in 2003 and 2007, and the Champions Trophy in 2006 and 2009.

Dhoni also won India three ICC titles, the T20 World Cup in 2007, ODI World Cup in 2011 and the Champions Trophy in 2013, making him the only captain ever to win all three major ICC trophies. He also retired with an ODI average of over 50. The legacy of these two cricketing geniuses does not need much explaining.

Several retirements and comebacks later, Shahid Afridi managed to play 524 international matches. Although the statistics may not favour him with the bat, he was a true entertainer. With him, there was always some excitement in the air. The unpredictable and inconsistent nature of his game never allowed him to become the batter he should have after the potential he had shown in his early days. Nevertheless, he was a crowd puller and he holds the record for hitting the most number of sixes in ODI cricket. He also scored over 8,000 ODI runs while picking up 395 wickets in the format. His quick and skiddy leg spin was always tricky to face.

Jacques Kallis, with 519 appearances, is 8th on this list. With the bat, the South African averaged almost 55, 44 and 35 in Tests, ODIs and T20Is respectively. He also averaged close to 33, 32 and 28 with the ball in the three formats. Kallis is a true legend and one of the most complete cricketers ever.

India's current head coach, Dravid, took part in 509 international games as a player. He is one of the only three Indian batters to have scored more than 24,000 international runs; one being Kohli and the other being Tendulkar with 34,357 runs.


A strong believer in the fact that Kohli and Paes are the greatest Indian superstars!