Unfair to compare me with a legendary cricketer like Sachin Tendulkar, insists Virat Kohli
The star batsman feels Tendulkar's legacy is out of reach for any current cricketer.
What's the story?
Indian captain Virat Kohli has played down the persisting comparisons between himself and Sachin Tendulkar. In a candid chat show titled Breakfast with Champions, the star batsman insisted that the exalted Mumbaikar lies in a completely different league altogether for drawing parallels with the current generation of cricketers.
Kohli enthused, "One must draw comparisons between people with whom it can be drawn. Comparing me with someone for whom I started playing cricket, there’s no comparison in terms of skill. He (Tendulkar) is 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!"
In the past...
Kohli has made no secret of his intense admiration for Tendulkar. Citing the revered batsman as his inspiration for taking up cricket, the Delhi dasher's respect for the great man can be discerned from his iconic quote in the aftermath of India's euphoric triumph in the 2011 World Cup.
The heart of the matter
Having had a monstrous year in the 50-over format in which he is now second only to Tendulkar in the list of all-time leading century-makers, the clamour for comparisons between Kohli and his role-model have only gone louder. In fact, plenty of respected former cricketers such as Sourav Ganguly have backed the 28-year old to go on to break the distinguished stalwart's ODI record.
However, Kohli himself has acknowledged that his astounding numbers cannot be the basis for drawing parallels with Tendulkar. Shedding light into a hitherto unheard of incident, the right-hander revealed that the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Munaf Patel and Irfan Pathan once tricked him into bowing in front of his inspiration when the two first came face to face. Kohli got to know that the quartet had played a prank on him only when Tendulkar himself made him realise the situation.
After participating in the third T20I against New Zealand at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday, Kohli will look to shift his focus to the premier format of the game when India take on Sri Lanka for a 3-Test series starting on the 16th.
Kohli's comments throw light into his sensible and mature personality off the field. As the man himself admits, he still has a long way to go (especially in Test cricket) before being compared to an accomplished batsman like Tendulkar.