While the two players have always refrained from comparisons of individuals, the fans of Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli continue to debate as to who is the greatest batsman of all time.
Tendulkar leads the run charts in both ODIs and Tests, while Kohli is arguably the greatest all-format batsman. Kohli broke Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI centuries and raised his 50th ODI ton during the World Cup 2023, in which he also broke Tendulkar’s 673-run record from the 2003 World Cup and went on to pile up over 700 runs in the tournament, also making many shift their camps.
Nevertheless, Virat Kohli has always spoken of his admiration and respect for Tendulkar, and he would always consider him the number 1 batter.
Here are the 5 best statements from Virat Kohli on Sachin Tendulkar:
“Sachin always on top; I am happy being the second.”
In a conversation with comedian Rahul Subramanian, Virat Kohli asked Rahul about his favorite cricketer. While the comedian took Sachin Tendulkar’s name, he admitted that Kohli could jump from his second favorite to first by the time he ends his career. Kohli, very modestly, denied him, saying that Tendulkar will always be on top and that he’s very happy being his second favorite.
“For me he will always be on top, so I am happy being the second.”
Virat Kohli on Sachin Tendulkar pic.twitter.com/vk0WaK6qdv
— Cricketopia (@CricketopiaCom) January 14, 2024
“Comparison not fair on Sachin”
In Virat Kohli’s epic peak year in 2016, where he dominated every format and opposition, the comparisons between him and Tendulkar propelled to unprecedented levels, something that never happened in Indian cricket.
However, in 2017, on Gaurav Kapur’s show Breakfast with Champions, Kohli made it clear that he shouldn’t be compared with Tendulkar, the person whom he idolized and the reason he started playing cricket. Kohli admitted it was unfair on Tendulkar to be compared to him or anyone from this generation.
Kohli said: “One must draw comparisons between people within whom it can be drawn. Comparing me with someone for whom I started playing cricket, there’s no comparison in terms of skill; he’s the most complete batsman ever. I’ve always said this, he doesn’t deserve this… Because of what he has given to us, he doesn’t deserve to be compared with us… This generation, no chance!”
“Huge honor to equal my hero’s record” – Kohli after 49th ODI ton
Kohli equaled Tendulkar’s tally of 49 ODI centuries in the World Cup 2023 game against South Africa at the Eden Gardens. In the post-match presentation, he expressed his deepest respect for Tendulkar.
He said: “Tendulkar’s message is quite special. For me, it’s all too much to take in right now, to be honest, to equal my hero’s record in one-day internationals is something that’s a huge honour for me. I know that people like comparisons, I am never going to be as good as him. There’s a reason why we all looked up to him. He’s perfection when it comes to batting.”
“Tendulkar carried the burden of the nation for 21 years”
This remains one of the most iconic quotes—probably the most famous one—from India’s win in the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka at the Wankhede. Virat Kohli, Yusuf Pathan, and others lifted Sachin Tendulkar for a lap of honor at the Wankhede.
After that, Kohli said: “He(Tendulkar) has carried the burden of the nation for 21 years, it was time we carried him.”
“Stuff of dreams” – Kohli on notching his 50th ODI ton in front of Tendulkar and Anushka
In the World Cup 2023 semi-final against New Zealand at the Wankhede stadium, Kohli became the first batsman in history to raise 50 ODI centuries. In attendance were Sachin Tendulkar and Kohli’s wife, Anushka Sharma.
He said: “It’s stuff of dreams, Anushka was sitting right there, Sachin paaji was there in the stands. I mean, it’s very difficult for me to explain this, but if I could paint the perfect picture, I would want this to be the picture. My life partner, the person I love the most, she’s sitting there. My hero, he’s sitting there. And I was able to get the 50th in front of all of them and all these fans at Wankhede as well, such a historic venue. It was amazing.”