After enduring an unimaginable century drought for a couple of years, Virat Kohli returned to scoring ways with a commendable T20I hundred against Afghanistan in Asia Cup 2022. Little did we know that it was an ominous roar before one of the fiercest comebacks. The Delhiite has hammered nine international tons since then excluding a couple more tons in the last Indian Premier League season. His average in the international arena has been a blistering 63.36 since the game against Afghanistan, which speaks volumes about his form.
In the ongoing World Cup, not only has Kohli struck three hundreds, but has also broken a record for the ages. In the first semi-final against New Zealand in Mumbai, Virat Kohli notched his 50th ODI century to dethrone his idol, Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI tons. With his wife and his idol keeping an eye on him from the stands, the setting could not have been better for the Indian No.3, and Kohli, too, framed it correctly after his marathon 117-run knock, “Anushka (Sharma) was sitting right there, Sachin (Tendulkar) Paaji was here too. Difficult to explain this. If I could paint a perfect picture I would want this to be the picture.”
|Sachin Tendulkar||Virat Kohli|
|Sachin Tendulkar||Virat Kohli|
The world might immerse him in praise at the moment, but all this did not happen overnight. Kohli announced himself at the big arena with an Under-19 World Cup victory as a skipper in 2008 before making his international debut in the same year. He started playing under the shadow of his idol Sachin Tendulkar but soon gave an impression that he was there to stay for years to come.One of the strongest arrows in his quiver was run-chasing and his 133* run knock against Sri Lanka in Hobart in 2012 sent a shred of fascinating evidence across the globe.
Soon, Virat Kohli started bossing the ODI format and became the No.1 ODI batter in the ICC rankings in 2013. Moreover, he set the record for the fastest 8000, 9000, 10000, 11000, 12000, and 13000 runs in ODI cricket. Against New Zealand in the first semi-final of this World Cup, he also created a new record for the most runs in a single World Cup edition as he reached the tally of 711 runs with still a game left to add to it. Intriguingly, the previous best tally is that of Sachin Tendulkar who piled up 673 runs in the 2003 edition of the competition.
Even though several cricket pundits rate him better than Tendulkar, the 35-year-old admits his comparisons with Sachin Tendulkar are not fair. Virat Kohli has amassed over 13000 ODI runs in less than 300 games but the batting conditions were far different in Tendulkar’s era. With a single white-ball being used for 50 overs, scoring briskly in the latter half of the innings became a brutal task to achieve. A softer ball that also assists reverse swing is tough to tonk. In the past decade, white-ball greats such as Shoaib Akhtar and Mitchell Starc have often voiced their concerns over two new balls being used for ODIs.
Moreover, the field restrictions also played a part in dictating the scoring rate. For nearly 13 years till 2005, as many as five fielders were allowed to field outside the 30-yard circle for 35 overs unlike today when such a field could be deployed only in the final 10 overs. To add to the batters’ list of challenges, teams like Sri Lanka, West Indies, and South Africa were far more competent with the ball and scoring tons against them was never a cakewalk.
Most importantly, cricket has evolved with every generation. A scoring rate of five felt like a luxury back in the day but in modern day and age, a scoring rate of six is often termed as under-par. With the emergence of T20 cricket, no score while batting first can be called safe. Significantly, the importance of Sachin Tendulkar’s ODI strike rate of 86.23 as compared to Virat Kohli’s 93.62 is evident in terms of the impact it had on the team.
However, it is fair enough to say that it is nearly impossible to compare two batters from different generations, and the kind of impact both players had on youth and world cricket is no less than impeccable. Statistically, both of them stand almost at par with each other but Virat Kohli is yet to hang his boots and has a dazzling opportunity ahead of him. The right-hander has accrued 80 international hundreds and is 20 shy of equalling one of Tendulkar’s records which seemed inevitable half a decade ago. As aforementioned, he has hammered 10 tons in nearly 14 months and if Kohli can ride on a similar form, he can surely end up doing the inevitable.
How many World Cups has Sachin Tendulkar won?
Sachin Tendulkar won his only World Cup title in 2011.
How many overall centuries does Virat Kohli have?
Virat Kohli has 80 international hundreds – 50 in ODIs, 29 in Tests, 1 in T20Is.
When did Sachin play his last ODI?
Sachin played his last ODI on 18th March 2012 against Pakistan.