As a Sachin fan I feel let down. Is this how we treat legends?

Debdutta Bhattacharjee
Debdutta BhattacharjeeMar 29, 2016 | 19:35

As a Sachin fan I feel let down. Is this how we treat legends?

For 24 long years, Sachin Tendulkar had carried the dreams of a nation on his shoulders. For 24 long years, he had thwarted every attack with his broad bat. For 24 long years, he had been the nucleus of the Indian batting. Even if you wish to ignore his monumental records, look the quality of the bowlers he faced: Curtly Ambrose, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Glenn Mcgrath, Shane Warne, Allan Donald and Muttiah Muralitharan, to name a few. Also consider that Sachin, for a long period of time, was batting in the middle order in ODIs and opened the batting in only his 70th innings.


Consider his record in World Cups. He is the only batsman to score more than 500 runs in a single edition of the World Cup twice (in 1996 and 2003). He has the most number of runs in the showpiece event and the most number of Man of the Matches.

Consider his Test record. Who can forget the 136 against a top class Pakistan attack that he made battling terrible back pain in a Test at Chennai in 1999? With Nayan Mongia for company, he almost took India over the finish line, unless his body failed him in the end.

Can we forget that innings in World Cup 2003 when he tore Shoaib Akhtar apart at the Centurion, and indeed that famous upper cut for six off Akhtar? Can we indeed forget how he single-handedly battled Australia at Sharjah in 1998, taking his team to the final first, and then winning it for India? His two back-to-back centuries in that tournament when it mattered the most are the stuff of legend.

There is, however, no denying the skill and capabilty of Kohli.  

It has been nearly three years since Sachin retired, and it now seems that his phenomenal contribution for Indian cricket has faded from public memory already. Because the country now has a new hero to swear by - Virat Kohli.


There is no denying the skill and capabilty of Kohli. You can perhaps also not blame the fans for wanting to live in the present, but clearly, if we disregard Sachin's achievements in the bargain, it would be the greatest injustice.

The greatest injustice to someone whom we had almost worshipped for over two decades. Someone who embodied an India trying hard to make itself relevant. Sachin during the 1990s, especially, was a mirror of the struggles of the common Indian, who was just starting to feel the winds of liberalisation. Sachin reflected the aspirations of a nation.

Granted that Kohli has shown all the signs to be a great of the game. He has a jaw-dropping average of 228.50 in chases in World T20s and an average of 122.83 in successful chases in T20 internationals. Clearly, no target is big enough when Kohli is around. A real match-winner. Since we are so fond of comparisons, let me point out that Sachin was a match-winner in his own right. If Kohli is the king of run chases, Sachin often set a match up and put India in a commanding position.


Of Sachin's 49 ODI centuries, 33 were scored in a winning cause. He averaged more than 56 in team wins, at a strike rate of 90. This is quite something, in that pre-T20 era.

Also it is perhaps not prudent to compare eras and formats. Had Sachin played T20s in a big way as Kohli has, his strike rates may have been even more. Kohli, one the other hand, has to prove himself on the biggest stage of all - Test cricket. Sachin has been there and done that. The 148 not out in Sydney and 114 at Perth in a series Down Under in 1992, against a hostile attack, when the rest of the team was having a tough time, is regarded as two of the best Test innings ever.

Kohli has to, therefore, traverse a long distance, before we can even think of a comparison. Can he have the longevity that Sachin had in international cricket, and do it while staying on top of his game?

For me frankly, such a comparison is a bit misplaced. It would be better if Kohli is allowed to carve out his unique place without the burden of having to be the new god of cricket.

Last updated: March 31, 2016 | 11:18
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