Sachin Tendulkar vs Virat Kohli: A statistical analysis
Right from his debut in 1989, Sachin Tendulkar remained the most important part of Indian batting line-up. He rescued the Indian team on a myriad number of times. His records- 100 centuries, 34k+ runs are a couple of unmatchable feats.
But, since his retirement in ODIs in 2012 and Tests in 2013, India has been looking for someone to fill his voids. Presently, the Indian skipper looks like someone who has taken over the burden of the Indian batting order.
In the 1990s, each of Sachin's innings was compared with the little master, Sunil Gavaskar. Sunny's Test records seemed to be unconquerable that time. But, when Sachin called it a day in 2013, he had not only overtaken Sunny's records, but also set a huge mountain of runs ahead for any successor to break it.
The 34,000 runs has always looked like impossible for any batsman to cross. However, five years since The God retreated from the 22-yards, Virat Kohli is giving an impression that even Sachin's records are achievable.
While Sachin's career flourished under Ganguly's captaincy, Virat has made a graceful impact in his own leadership.
It is to be noted that both Sachin and Kohli played in different conditions, different oppositions, different bowlers and this is purely a statistical comparision.
Test Cricket: The Gentleman's game
Sachin made his Test debut in 1989 against Pakistan. He was known as the next Master, right from his debut. He hit his maiden Test century vs England at Old Trafford during the tour of 1990. He played his first 71 Tests in the period of 1989-1999.
In his initial days, Virat was not considered as a Test match material. But since he has taken up the Test captaincy, his career has blossomed many times over. His first Test century came against Australia in 2012. Last week he played his 71st Test match against England.
Sachin vs Virat: First 71 Tests:
Sachin scored 5612 runs in 111 innings of his first 71 Tests. He played his 71st Test against Australia in Australia at Adelaide Oval. He struck 21 centuries and 21 fifties with a highest score of 217 which came against New Zealand in 1999. He only had a 1 double-century in Tests.
Virat played his 71st Test against England at the Oval earlier this month. He has so far scored 6147 runs in 122 innings with an average of 53.92. He is currently ranked #1 in ICC Test rankings. He has scored six double-centuries, all of them coming in the last 3 years. All of his six 200s have come under his own captaincy. He is sixth highest in the list of most 200s in Test cricket and has most among Indians.
From these stats, it is clear that Virat is way ahead of Sachin in Tests so far. However, it is to be noted that Sachin played his 71st Test at the age of 26, while Virat is currently aged 30.
Virat's captaincy far better than Sachin as Virat has led India to second-most Test victories. He is also the highest run-scorer amongst Indian captains. On the other end, Sachin's captaincy records are a lot poor although, he scored 11 centuries during his tenure.
ODIs: An euphoria of runs
In ODIs, the comparison between the two Virtuosos is quite intense. It looks like Sachin's record of 18k+ runs and 49 ODI centuries look much achievable for Virat in the coming future.
Even if Virat is currently ranked #1 in Test rankings, he is always known as a limited overs specialist. He is currently the best ODI batsman in world cricket, while Sachin is the best among all-time.
Sachin had a below-average performance in ODIs initially as he wasn't able to score a single century in his first 76 ODIs. However, the anathema was broken when he was promoted to open the innings against New Zealand in 1994. This promotion allowed Sachin to unleash his attacking abilities in ODIs. The desert-storm innings vs Australia changed Sachin's ODI career, making him the best batsman ever.
Virat has cemented his place in Indian middle order since his debut. He had a startling record in the ODIs in his early days. His score of 133* vs SL proved him to be one of the best chasers of the game. This was followed by his career-best 183 against Pakistan in 2012, which happened to be Sachin's last ODI. Quite literally, Virat took over the responsibility of Indian batting from Sachin's shoulders in this match.
Sachin vs Virat: First 211 ODIs
Sachin played his 211st ODI against New Zealand in 1999. He scored 7801 runs in 204 innings with an average of 42. He had 21 centuries and 43 fifties to his name. His highest score, then, was the famous 143 against Australia at Sharjah. A career which started with a duck against Pakistan ended up with the most of the batting records in ODIs.
Virat has so far played 211 matches, the last one being against England earlier this season. He has 9779 runs in 203 innings with an enthralling average of 58. He, already, has 35 centuries in his name and is not too far behind Sachin's mark of 49. He is currently #1 in ODI rankings as well.
Virat might have been way better at these stats than Sachin, however, Sachin started his career at the age of 16 and played his 211st ODI at the age of 25. Contrarily, Virat Kohli is currently aged 30. So with the second half of Virat's career starting with the 2019 CWC, Virat has to fight against the age and perhaps injury problems to climb the mammoth mountain of Sachin's records.
Again, no matter who ends up with more records, both, Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar will always be remembered as one of the best blessings to the game.