Why Virat Kohli cannot be the next Sachin Tendulkar
We talk about Virat Kohli scoring a lot of runs on a consistent basis. Every time the Indian captain does well, the thought of him breaking all records that currently belong to Sachin Tendulkar constantly comes to our mind. Sachin has written his name at the top of all batting records, the records that once looked unachievable. People said, "these records are not possible for humans", "Any players who reach even half his records are legends of the game".
However, 2008 saw the debut of an Indian cricketer who is all set to rubbish these talks.
At the age of 29, with around 10 years of cricket still left in him, he is already making these records look gettable. He has 32 ODI hundreds and 19 Test hundreds, which include 5 double centuries. He truly is a modern-day master of the game.
In spite of all these records, Kohli cannot emulate Sachin Tendulkar. Here is why:
Kohli came into international cricket at a relatively older age. The commercialization of cricket on a large scale had begun with the IPL then. But this was not the scene when Tendulkar made his debut in 1989. A lot was happening in India. With the Indo-Pak tension and sporadic riots across it, the environment in the country was not good.
In such times, Tendulkar, a 16-year-old got selected to play against Pakistan in Pakistan. It was a ground-breaking news at the time. He became the youngest cricketer to represent India. Wasim Akram even said that he looked like a 14-year-old. It was bravado from the kid to face the likes of Akram, Waqar and Imran Khan at their peak.
The youngster soon began to take giant strides in international cricket. There was something about him that made him popular among people of all age groups. Gradually, he attracted the attention of a lot of people across the globe. As his career started growing, BCCI started getting more revenues. For the first time in Indian cricket history, ESPN decided to telecast India's matches by paying a hefty sum to the Indian cricket board. Tendulkar had become the face of Indian cricket.
The English county Yorkshire changed its rules to facilitate him to play for them. This was a proud moment for India.
He gave many such moments of pride to India in his 24-year long career. Sachin Tendulkar's rise facilitated Indian cricket's rise. Through most parts of his career, he was the one who always kept the Indian fan's hope alive.
The common question across India during the Indian innings was: "Is Sachin still batting? ".
Harsha Bhogle once said, "If Sachin bats well, India sleeps well". This statement has no exaggeration. For a lot of people in India, Tendulkar means life. There have been so many people who fasted when Sachin batted. Many people celebrate his birthday as if it is their own. A lot of people relate their life's incidents to Sachin's scores. Sachin is like a son to a lot of fathers and mothers; a grandson to a lot of elderly citizens.
Sachin inspired a lot of cricketers of the current generation. Not only Indians, many international legends of the game have said that they were inspired by the Master Blaster.
The fact that Kohli was inspired to play cricket by the man himself tells us how invalid his comparison with Tendulkar is. Tendulkar is not a legend, he is not an icon, he is not an idol.
He is an emotion.
An emotion, which people who have witnessed his career, will never forget. No Kohli can replace him. No one can replace him.