Which modern batsman will surpass the great Tendulkar?
'God!', 'The Little Master', 'The Magician' -- A man named Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar once graced the game of cricket on the 15th of November 1989 and ended with 18426 runs in an ODI career that spanned over a stunning 23 years.
While comparisons across eras aren't ideal, we are here compare the careers of six modern-day giants who are threatening to defy the odds and climb the final frontier.
By examining the course of their carrier - in comparison to Tendulkar's - and taking into account other factors, I will assign a score out of 10 that will rate the likelihood for that player to surpass Tendulkar's record of 18246 runs in ODI's.
In the course of this marathon effort, Tendulkar created a new peak of excellence for the future stars to climb. And for someone to succeed in this treacherous climb, one needs consistency, determination, perseverance, and most importantly, age.
To begin with, it would be handy to view a chart of the runs these players have scored as their career has progressed in comparison to Tendulkar.
A straight-line slope is what you get with Sachin Tendulkar: a career that was marked by unrelenting consistency. This straight line becomes very critical, as it marks the consistency that is demanded of our six candidates as their careers progress ahead. It obviously helped that he made his ODI debut at the jaw-dropping age of 16 when he barely had a speck of age on his face.
Through the article, I will also consider age and fitness as a parameter to predict the longevity of these players. I will obviously be making lots of assumptions regarding when these batsmen plan to hang their boots.
As you may have seen, a star like AB de Villiers took a rather early retirement in comparison to Rangana Herath who left the arena only in his 40s. It is quite unpredictable. So here they are, the nominees for the 'Make the Impossible Possible Award' of Cricket.
#1 Hashim Amla
If there were a giant tsunami and the world around was shaking, there would be one man whose calm would still be in place. The man with the wise beard, Hashim Amla.
Hashim Amla debuted in the year 2008 at the age of 25 and he was 9 years older than Tendulkar as compared to the latter's debut. Today, he is 35 years old with a beard of wisdom and a touch of class.
The South African has undoubtedly been the most unnoticed amongst the group. Silently and efficiently, he kept churning out the runs while the entire world kept going on about the 'Fab 4'. Today, he stands with an admirable 7696 runs from 169 games.
There is something very interesting that stands out in a cumulative career averages chart of his career.
Amla had consistently been better than everyone else for most of his career, his average lurking in the mid to high 50s. In fact, his average never fell below the 50-mark approximately since his 25th game only until recently. Considering these numbers, he has certainly been the most efficient in churning out the runs while he was in the spotlight.
However, one has to be realistic. With only five years to go (at the maximum) and him playing 16.5 matches each year on an average calculated from the last 4 years, he would have to score with an average of 120+ each game.
Let's be practical. Unless he does a Bradman, I would give him a slim 0/10.