Sachin Tendulkar vs Virat Kohli: the inevitable debate

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Sachin Tendulkar is the greatest batsman to have ever played the game. Almost every batting record in the game of cricket belongs to Sachin Tendulkar. His achievements are unparalleled and this is why he is also known as the ‘God of Cricket’. On the other hand, we have Virat Kohli, who is one of the best batsmen in world cricket at the moment. Kohli, 26, has already broken many records, that includes some of Sachin Tendulkar’s records as well.

Indians love to compare, and the comparison between Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli, has now become inevitable. In my honest opinion, there’s nothing wrong in comparing two batsmen. But, while making such comparison, we shouldn’t ignore the following points:

Different Eras
Record Outside the Sub-Continent
Support/Lack of Support
Overall Impact 

Now, let us discuss these points in detail.

It’s very important to understand the fact that the game of cricket has gone through a lot of changes in the last 10 years or so, and the balance of the game has shifted massively in the favor of batsmen. Before the year 2000, the score of 300 or more was achieved only five times in One Day International (ODI) cricket, as scoring 300 runs in 50 overs used to be a very big achievement. But now, the time has changed and teams score and chase 300 runs in 50 overs for fun. While comparing Sachin and Kohli, we shouldn’t forget the fact that Sachin played a lot of his cricket in the “old-era” whereas Kohli started his career in the post-T20 era, when the balance of the game had already shifted massively in the favor of batsmen. 

Although, there’s no doubt that Virat Kohli is one of the most accomplished batsmen in world cricket at the moment and he has scored runs almost everywhere he has played, we shouldn’t ignore that fact that Sachin, at the end of his career, had a fair number of away hundreds, and by away I mean hundreds outside the sub-continent. It is true that Virat Kohli is still very young and has a lot of cricket left in him, but it is also true that the modern-day cricket is a lot more demanding and maintaining a good fitness level is as important as maintaining a good form. It will be interesting to see how long Virat Kohli plays international cricket, and if he does, how many runs and hundreds he scores outside the sub-continent, where the pitches give more assistance to the bowlers. It’s noteworthy that Virat Kohli has scored most of his hundreds against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

When Sachin was scoring all those runs for India, he had very little support from the other end, especially from the middle-order. Apart from a couple of players, Sachin, more often than not, used to be a lone fighter for India. Sachin scored a major chunk of his runs batting under the huge of pressure of being the best batsman in the side, and this, in my opinion, was Sachin’s greatest contribution to Indian cricket. Virat Kohli, on the other hand, has had the support of MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and others, in his career so far. Without taking anything away from Kohli, he has batted more freely as he had the cushion of having the likes of Dhoni, Yuvraj and Raina batting after him.

This comparison has now become an inevitable part of Indian cricket, but is very important to understand the different eras, overall record, longevity and a few other above mentioned factors, before coming to any conclusion.

In my honest opinion, Kohli might break a few “age-based” or “matches-based” records, but he, or any other batsman for this matter, will not be able to come close to Tendulkar’s overall records in international cricket.



By The Cricket Lounge

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