Sachin Tendulkar Vs. Virat Kohli: Who is a better batsman?
Virat Kohli the current captain of the Indian test team has impressed one and all through his finese, grit and hunger for runs. He has been accumulating runs at such a pace that people have already started comparing him to the one of the finest batsmen the game has ever seen, Sachin Tendulkar. Virat Kohli is touted as arguably the best batsman in the current Indian cricket squad and it would not be inappropriate to say that he has earned it.
However, has he actually done enough to be compared with one of the finest players the game has ever seen? Let us look at their respective stats and records to understand what the hype is all about.
Averages in both Formats
The best way to compare two batsmen is going by their averages. So let's take a look at their respective averages. Sachin Tendulkar enjoys a batting average of 53.79* in 200 test matches and an average of 44.83 in 463 one international matches. Virat Kohli, on the other hand, has an average of 44.03 in Test matches and 51.51 in One day internationals and has played 41 tests and 171 One day international matches. While Sachin Tendulkar has a better average in test matches, Virat Kohli's average is substantially better in one day international matches.
Some may argue that the true class of a batsman is reflected in the way he plays in test matches, test matches have become a rarity in the current cricketing scenario. Hardly any test cricket is played now a days. Comparing two players who have played 200 and 41 matches respectively is just not right. On the other hand the game has changed considerably in the past decade, when it comes to one day matches. While one day cricket has always been about making as many runs as possible in the available 50 overs, a score in excess of 400 was unheard of at the time when Sachin Tendulkar was at the peak of his career. In fact, even 300 plus scores were a rarity at the time.
Therefore it would be injustice to compare the two batsmen merely on the basis of batting average.
Contribution in Matches won
Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar both are hailed as the greatest batsmen of their respective eras. To put things in perspective it would be a good idea to see how much of a team player both are and how many of their centuries and half centuries have resulted in the team winning or better yet, how much they average in matches won vis a vis overall average.
Tendulkar averages 53.78 in test matches overall while he averages 61.93 in test matches that India won. The numbers tell a similar story in One day internationals too. While his overall average is 44.83, he averages considerably higher in the One day matches that India won at 56.63.
However, when it comes to Virat Kohli, he has done well in One day matches but not so well in test matches that India won. He averages 44.02 overall in tests and 40 in matches that India won. One the other hand in One day international matches he averages 51.51 overall and a whopping 67.5 in the matches won.
While Tendulkar looks like a very balanced player who did well and contributed to the team's wins in both formats of the game, the stats make it look like Virat is tailor made for one day cricket or the shorter format of the game.
Who do you think is a better player?
So who's better?
Going by the statistics it looks like that Tendulkar is far more balanced player and has already achieved great heights in the cricketing world, while Virat Kohli though a bit erratic but shows a lot of promise and rightly touted as a batsman on his way to becoming a cricketing legend. He has already achieved quite a bit in the cricketing world and still has a lot many years to play. On the other hand, Tendulkar has played out his innings and set records that are difficult if not impossible to break.
All said and done, It is indeed a great honour for any batsman in the world to be even compared with a player of the stature of Sachin Tendulkar and that itself says a lot about the character, charisma and talent of Virat Kohli. And who knows, Virat might as well break a few records made by Tendulkar in the coming few years. Irrespective of everything else, Virat Kohli at present certainly looks like a younger Tendulkar who dominated the bowlers and played shots at will.