They say Cricket is a team game but individual brilliance is celebrated. On the sheer brilliance of many players teams have won games from jaws of defeat. Many players are idolized for their consistency, for their brilliance and for their ability to turn around games. The players attain celebrity status and few are considered beyond that. With this but comes the risk of being micro scrutinized for individual one of incidents.
In India, cricket is a religion and they say Sachin the God. Next to that celebrity status is King Kohli. A lot has been said about these two players. They have been pitted against each other, their numbers torn apart for analysis and the debate is surely not going to die anytime soon. The supporters of the two have defended, fought against the rest to establish the individual supremacy. On a personal front though, I as a fan of Indian Cricket as a whole genuinely believe we should not have the debate “Sachin VS Kohli”.
For a start, the two players are of different eras. When Sachin Tendulkar started representing India, Virat Kohli would have just started crawling. Yes, it is true that over a period of time, both have given us some amazing memories to remember and am pretty sure Kohli will give more such performances before he hangs up his boots, but if we were to compare the both as to who is better, it would be gross injustice to them.
If statistics is a measure to define who is better, then definitely Kohli would be better among them as his batting average in ODIs and T20s is leaps and bounds ahead of Sachin, but then average alone doesn’t define one’s greatness. Sachin scored those mammoth runs against teams whose bowling consisted of bowlers like Glen McGrath, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Muthiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne, Chaminda Vaas, Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock. These are the bowlers who have terrorized batsmen across with their skills. The batsmen had to fight it out to score runs. It is against these legends, that Sachin unleashed his genius often taking the bowlers to cleaners. In an age where a batsmen hitting six was a rarity, where the coaches often advised the batsmen to play along the ground, there was this guy hitting all the bowlers be it swing, pace, medium pace, spin in the air at his will.
Fast forward to now, when all the players across are hitting the ball in air at will, where six hitting has become as simple as taking singles, we have a batsmen redefining the batsman ship with hitting the ball along the ground, running singles, rotating strike. There lies the individual brilliance. If Sachin had to face a high quality of bowling, Kohli has to ensure he is ahead of the rest as the margin of error is so less with the advent of technology where it helps the opposition to identify even an imperfect dust particle in the bat as a weakness. Add to that, the new format of T20, where it is sheer madness of hitting sixes, it is to be appreciated that Kohli is winning you games with proper batsman ship. Add to this the hectic schedule, it is difficult to correct a single flaw once it is identified.
The greatness of Sachin lies in his ability to make an entire generation believe that it is not wrong to be assertive and be greedy to win, at the same time Kohli’s greatness lies in his ability to chase scores and win. An end to this debate can never be reached as the various variables are different and can never be same.
Best is to enjoy the sheer happiness both provide..If Sachin is the master, then Kohli is his able follower.