Statistics is not the only parameter to compare Sachin & Virat. It is possible that in some cases Virat will surpass Sachin’s records but for a fair comparison, we must understand the technicalities, not just related to individual technique but also the internal & external factors.
I have closely watched Sachin since 1995 & I have been following Virat since 2006 when he placed his 1st first-class match with Tamil Nadu. I’m a fan of both but if we go by logic Sachin is far ahead of Virat Kohli – not only as a batsman but also as a human being.
Here are my 5 logical reasons why Sachin Tendulkar is far ahead of Virat Kohli –
1) Batting conditions & pitches: In the last decade, cricket has shifted more towards batsmen, thanks to the pitch conditions. Looks like, the only purpose of today’s cricket is entertainment and hence the pitches are always in favour of batsmen. Till 2011 WC, the 300+ target in ODIs was a winning target but since 8-9 yrs, 330+ is not safe either. Everyone is pilling runs in England, NZ & Australia nowadays.
Lucky Virat, he is playing in this batsman focused era.
2) Opponent bowling: Virat is no doubt facing some good bowlers but that’s limited to probably one in a team whereas Sachin has faced almost all great bowlers during his time and sometimes 3-4 of them in a single team/match like Mcgrath/Warne/Lee for Australia, Wasim Akram/Waqar, Yunus/Saqlain/Akhtar for Pakistan, Walsh/Ambrose/Bishop for West Indies, Vass/Muralidharan for Sri Lanka, Donald/Pollack for South Africa, Vettori/Bond for New Zealand, Gough/Anderson for England and so on. Even the relatively weaker teams like Zimbabwe and Kenya were loaded with some awesome bowling attacks like Heath Streak, Neil Johnson, Henry Olonga, Paul Strang etc.
3) Shot selection & variation: What a super Sweep/paddle sweep/late cut/uppercut/helicopter shot by Sachin Tendulkar! It was a common phrase by commentators back in 1990s & early 2000’s because he had that range & variation and was accurate in executing that. Every time there was something new in Sachin’s shot selection, it was simply a treat to watch. I don’t think anyone can forget his straight six off Kasprowicz & Shane Warne in Sharjah or six by pull off Andrew Caddick in Durban or a Paddle sweep off Giles in England or an upper cut off Brett Lee in Perth or six by Upper cut off Akhtar in 2003 WC and a Helicopter shot off Darren Gough in Netwest 2002.
On the other hand, Virat Kohli is great batsmen but very restricted in shot selection, his kitty is limited to only a couple of shots. That’s a nice strategy but not sufficient to survive the likes of Akram, Akhtar, Donald, Waqar, Warne, Pollack, Ntini, Bond, Vettori, Vass, Muralidharan etc – smarter & greatest chunk of bowling fraternity.
4) Team combination: Sachin’s peak was from 1996 to 2003 and he could have done much better if there were dudes like Rohit, Shikhar, Bumrah, Pandya, Shami to ease out pressure from him. The match was considered over after Sachin’s dismissal, that was the situation back then. Virat can’t imagine playing under such conditions & expectations but Sachin has carried that burden of expectations for years with a huge success. Though in the later years, we got Ganguly, Sehwag, Laxman and Dravid but they all were largely missing till 1999.
5) Team discipline & Attitude: He has played (and captained the team) when match-fixing was at its peak in the Indian dressing room but it had very little impact on his performance. Coming out from such an environment and leading from the front shows how determent & disciplined he was. On top of that, have you ever heard him scolding any fan of a teammate? He was a true gentleman and very down to earth guy even after achieving so much in life.
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