Cricket fans often find themselves immersed in debates, discussions, and endless comparisons. Among these debates, one topic that frequently surfaces is the comparison between two cricketing legends – Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar. It’s a comparison fueled by statistics and these players’ undeniable passion for the game.
When it comes to Virat Kohli, one cannot help but marvel at his insatiable appetite for runs. His monumental achievements have already etched his name among the game’s all-time greats. As he smashed his 47th One-Day International (ODI) century during an Asia Cup Super 4 match against Pakistan, he took a giant leap towards breaking Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI centuries. It’s not a matter of “if” but “when” Kohli achieves this remarkable feat, needing three more centuries to surpass Tendulkar.
With a staggering 77 international centuries across formats, Kohli is second only to Tendulkar in this prestigious club. The parallels are undeniable, and Kohli’s pursuit of Tendulkar’s records is a testament to his relentless drive.
In the race for the most runs in international cricket, Kohli is not too far behind. He has already secured a spot in the top five with 25,711 runs. With the upcoming ODI World Cup on the horizon, the chances are high that Kohli will surpass Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardena (25,957 runs) to claim the fourth position. However, Tendulkar’s colossal tally of 34,357 runs remains a distant goal.
While statistics, centuries, and records form the backbone of this comparison, it’s essential to look beyond the numbers. Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar astutely points out a crucial similarity between Kohli and Tendulkar – their sheer love for the game.
“The one similarity between Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar is that both enjoy playing cricket. They want to be on the field. He was not part of the team for the game against Bangladesh but was still on the field. I don’t think Virat Kohli wants power or leadership,” Sanjay said in an interview with journalist Vimal Kumar.
Kohli’s passion for cricket knows no bounds. Even when he was not part of the playing eleven during the Asia Cup 2023 Super 4 match against Bangladesh, the soon-to-be 35-year-old was seen running onto the field with drinks, towels, and unyielding enthusiasm. His dedication to the team’s cause, even in a supporting role, exemplifies his unwavering commitment to the sport.
Manjrekar dismisses the notion that Kohli desires power or leadership. He emphasizes that Kohli primarily focuses on playing the game he loves.
“He just wants to play, and it looks like he enjoys being a part of the team. He captained the team for a long time, so there is no scope for an unfulfilled dream. Being with the team, travelling with players, going to the ground, and being part of winning moments are more important to him than having power,” Manjrekar said.
“Sachin Tendulkar has 51 hundreds, 17 more than what Sunil Gavaskar finished with. For a good player, accumulating runs in ODIs is comparatively easy, as bowlers don’t always try to take a wicket. Tendulkar and Kohli are special because they also have a lot of Test hundreds. However, I believe it will be difficult for Kohli to reach 51 Test centuries.” Former Indian cricketer concluded.
While Kohli’s accomplishments in ODIs are awe-inspiring, surpassing Tendulkar in Test cricket is monumental. Tendulkar’s record of 51 Test centuries stands as a colossal benchmark. Kohli’s 29 Test centuries are remarkable, but the gap is substantial. Manjrekar acknowledges this challenge and rightly notes that accumulating Test centuries is a testament to a player’s enduring skill and patience.