A fan's perspective: The difference between Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli
“When the Lord makes it clear you're to follow Him in this new direction, focus fully on Him and refuse to be distracted by comparisons with others.” - Charles R. Swindoll
The famous quote by Charles R. Swindoll describes the cricketing career of Virat Kohli perfectly. Kohli made his debut in 2008, coming off a successful under-19 World Cup. The fans had little idea of what he will do in the coming years. His arrival in international cricket was similar to that of Sachin Tendulkar.
As Kohli piled up the runs and moved up the ranks, the comparisons started amongst the fans. The idea of having another player like Sachin Tendulkar was a tremendous accomplishment in itself for the Indian fans.
A Sachin fan would argue continuously for hours and hours to tell his counterpart about the achievements of Tendulkar and how he is better than Kohli. In the same manner, a Kohli fan would have his record books open.
The fans would debate endlessly like two lawyers battling it out for their clients in a courtroom. Such is the pugnacious nature of the Indian fans, albeit they are not the ones to be blamed in a cricket crazy nation.
Tendulkar's journey in international cricket was full of ups and downs which were witnessed not only by him but the entire nation. Sachin Tendulkar is a name which is remembered by non-cricketing fans too.
The Indian skipper has reached a similar kind of stage but a lot separates the little master from the modern day superstar. Tendulkar made his debut at the age of 16 against the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Imran Khan.
For the most part of his career, he had to battle fierce bowlers without having any fielding restrictions, big sized bats or shorter boundaries. The 90s belonged to him because of his grit, determination and the hard work he put in during the practice hours.
Tendulkar achieved a lot in his 24-year long cricketing journey which was the journey of the whole nation. Before his arrival, scoring hundred centuries in a career seemed unimaginable. During the 90s the master blaster had turned into an emotion which will never happen to someone like Kohli.
Sachin was not only an inspiration on the field but people admired him off the field as well. Coming to the statistics it is inevitable that the modern day great will break most of the records that Tendulkar holds but Kohli will never have the same kind of enigma which Tendulkar carried.
Players from different eras should not be compared. The game has seen vast changes. During the era of Sir Vivian Richards, scoring runs were completely different than today. Orthodox shots accounted for most of the runs and the edges would mostly carry to the fielders, unlike the modern day where a batsman would mostly get six runs off a top edge.
The game has tilted towards the batsmen and there is no way that players from two different eras can be compared to each other with respect to the statistics.
A fan posted a famous conversation on a question and answer site. He quoted a common example of a conversation between a son and his father. India was taking on Australia in a one-day international in 2015. India was chasing a massive target.
They lost the wicket of Virat Kohli in the fifth over of the innings. The son was disappointed with the dismissal. "The game is over," he said. A quirky reply came his way "we still have Dhoni, Manish Pandey, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina".
Let's rewind the clock now. On a gloomy day in 1997, Sachin Tendulkar was batting. Tendulkar had crossed his century and India required 80 odd runs to win from the last 15 overs. The centurion was dismissed off the next delivery. The television was switched off and the son was told to sleep.
This is the major difference between the two. One of the players carried the burden of the nation on his shoulders whereas the other is exceptional in his own way. The comparisons should come to an end as the perspective of the fans should come into play.
This article does not intend to take credit away from Virat Kohli or Sachin Tendulkar. It only intends to differentiate between two greats on the basis of the perspective of the fans.
"I've been playing well for two years while he (Sachin Tendulkar) served the nation for 24 years." - Virat Kohli