Ever since Virat Kohli‘s arrival in gentlemen’s game, the debate for the most complete batsman in world cricket has spread like the jungle-fire among cricket fans and critics all around the world. In a cricket-frenzy country, where players were treated as nothing less than demigods, the debate around Kohli vs Sachin Tendulkar remain the best pastime for the 1.3 billion people. Despite Kohli not liking the fact that he is being compared to his idol Tendulkar, this has not stopped cricket pundits, experts and fans from indulging in the never-ending debate about these two stalwarts of the game.
After all the fanfare and hoopla, legendary leg spinner Shane Warne is the latest entrant who is weighing in on the topic of Kohli vs Tendulkar. Warne, who spent a career playing against Tendulkar explained how it is unfair to draw parallels between two cricketers playing across different eras.
Tendulkar was Indian cricket’s flagbearer through the 1990s and was a national icon by the time he retired in 2013, breaking almost every batting record that there is. He also said that any comparisons between the two are difficult to make since the conditions have changed drastically.
“Very hard to judge when someone is playing and very hard to judge eras,” Warne said. “Think about the bowlers in the ’90s. Different surfaces that seamed. Now they’re a lot flatter. The ball swung more. So many variables. But to think that someone was better than Brian Lara and Sachin – in those mid-’90s – against Wasim, Waqar, Curtly, Courtney, McGrath, Donald, Saqlain, Mushy, Vettori, Murali, myself. You can go on,” Warne told the Times of India.
On the other hand, Team India captain Kohli has been breaking records at the rate of knots across all formats of the game. In ODIs, Kohli is certainly a cut above his contemporaries. The India skipper is second on the list of batsmen with most centuries in the 50-over format, only 10 less than Tendulkar.
” Virat is breaking all the records, which is great but I want to wait. See, what people miss is this: You can set benchmarks, score those many centuries, average that high, score a lot many runs,” Warne added.
The Australian cricketer said, “But what people are going to remember you for is the way you played the game. Someone should run down the street and ask fans, how many runs did Mark Waugh make or what his average was? They wouldn’t have a clue but chances are, here’s what they’ll say: I loved watching him play.”
Warne further equates Kohli with West Indies great Vivian Richards, the gum-chewing slayer who was known for his charismatic approach. Warne also hinted that he is not much into records but insists that what’s more important is the way people remember the way a player carried himself on the field.