Many have already started talking about new batting sensation and India’s vice-captain Virat Kohli as Sachin’s possible successor due to India’s consistent dependence on Kohli in the lineup and his current performances have been compared to that of Tendulkar’s in the 90s. Statistics say that India has seldom lost a match in which Virat has scored century. Though he has still a long way to go, there is always a speculation whether he deserves that status of being called as India’s next cricketing maestro in the making.
Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli entered the Indian Test team with the teams of both the times going through a transitional phase following the retirements of star players with consistently disappointing results. With compact and explosive yet technically superb style of batting, both Sachin and Kohli were widely called as potential greats by the huge seasoned observers of the game in India .
However, critics say drawing comparisions between Sachin and Kohli would be unjustified for both of them. Unlike Kohli, the first three years of Sachin could not be telecasted before the cricket crazy Indian audience in those days with the world first discovering the talent in him. Greatest critics of countries of the then leaders of the game were simply stunned by the undaunting potential of a shy teenager well ruling the best of the pace attacks of the world with sheer ease and confidence. Also Sachin had to overcame the most rose-tinted appraisals at the beginning of his journey while Kohli is being constantly criticised for playing largely on easy grass-less flat pitches of South Asia that speaks for his fluffy batting averages.
But still, there’s little doubt about Virat being the best batsman in the current Indian batting line-up with him equalling Viv Richards’s record of being the fastest to 5,000 ODI runs in just 114 innings. Not only this but Kohli is also the proud holder of the record of being the fastest to 17 ODI centuries in just 112 innings. With such kind of records and given Kohli’s cricketing dexterity, comparisons with the batting great can’t be done away with. And surely with each match, the comparisons are being made increasingly more interesting by him with records tumbling to his feet. And countering critics view of Kohli’s cricketing ability in subcontinental conditions, optimists say that Kohli’s timely ton against Australia in the Adelaide Test last year and his century against South Africa in the Johannesburg Test in South Africa clearly display his ability to deliver when the guns are down and that too in foreign environments. Inheriting the No.4 batting spot in Tests, Kohli has certainly taken over the rock solid duty that Sachin used to perform for Team India for so long.
But it’s true that despite becoming a star batsman in the India’s formidable batting line-up, Kohli still has a long career to look forward to and a long way to go to match the feats of Sachin in the very way in which the latter always served India when the need was felt. In fact, the way he is constantly delivering with consistent knocks, several former cricket greats including Sunil Gavaskar have started believing that Sachin’s ODI records could be surpassed by Kohli one day. Truly speaking, records alone don’t define the batting maestro’s contribution to the Indian team. For the greater cause of the Indian Team, it was Sachin who was the anchor of Team India playing with three generations and thus gathering huge experience both on and off the field. He rose to the occasion every time it was very much in need for the team. Similar instincts is quite visible in Kohli too, who is steadily getting himself shaped into a destructive yet dependable member of the Indian squad just like his very own idol “Sachin Paaji”.