Virat Kohli vs Sachin's records : Can he or can he not?
A statistical look at how far or ahead will Virat Kohli be from Sachin's records at the end of his career
Virat Kohli is a modern day legend, hands down. He has reached such a stage in his career that more than his contemporaries, he would be compared to himself, time and again. And as has been the case with other legends of the game, he is bound to be compared with his idol, Sachin Tendulkar.
Although comparisons are not fair on both him and Sachin, such is the obsession of us fans with numbers and statistics that one cannot run away from them. At 29, the Indian captain is already counted among all-time ODI greats and is raising the bar higher everyday. He had a break out year in Tests in 2016, with his average jumping from 45 to 50. And comparisons in Indian cricket start with your debut.
In this article, I am not going to compare Virat and Sachin at similar stages of their respective careers, but would try to project Kohli's career further, about 8-9 years into the future. The basis of this analysis would purely be statistics, but injuries, loss of form and frequency of matches would be subjectively accounted for. The structure of international cricket would undergo rapid changes in coming years, with ICC giving its approval for Test and ODI leagues.
So let's dive in, one record at a time.
#1 Highest run aggregate in Test matches
Sachin scored 15,921 runs in 200 Tests, playing 329 innings at an average of 53.78. Virat Kohli, at present has scored 4658 runs in 60 Tests, playing 101 innings at an average of 49.55. Given his current form we can safely assume that his average would touch 50 in coming few matches.
He is still a whooping 11,263 runs behind the Master Blaster. A conservative estimate shows us that Virat should play for 9 more years, assuming he retires at 38. He might play more, if form, fitness and more importantly, luck remain by his side.
With the Test Championship coming into effect post 2019, we are looking at more number of Test matches to be played among the Top 9 teams. The proposed league would give each team six series over two years, each consisting a minimum of two matches, although member boards can decide the number of matches for a series among themselves.
Given India usually plays more against Australia, England and South Africa, a good estimate provides us with 20 matches over the two year cycle, although it can vary according to opponent. Accounting for matches missed due to injuries or 'rest' because of high workload, Virat should play about 150-160 Tests if he plays till 38. A conservative estimate of 140 matches seems to be a good calculation point.
So in 140 matches, Virat should play about 235 innings. Accounting for not outs, this gives us 220 dismissals. Kohli's average might rise further (to about 53-54) if his current form continues, and he might also go through a lean patch, like the one he had in England in 2014. Taking care of all of that, we would see Virat at a career average of 50 when he decides to hang his boots. That gives him 11,000 more runs.
Very close, but again, this was a conservative estimate. He might play the game longer, or have a longer period where he cannot find the middle of his bat, or may find himself on the other side of luck where, God forbid, a freak injury messes up everything for him.
Or he might soar new heights and outdo what he did in 2016, more than once. Who knows, but we can safely bet that 'if' everything goes right for Kohli, Sachin's record of Test runs is something definitely within his reach.