Ever since Virat Kohli entered the international arena and he started notching up hundreds at will, comparisons with Sachin Tendulkar came almost with a sense of inevitability about it. The U-19 world cup winning captain burst into the scene with a composure, ability and maturity too good for a batsman his age. Unlike Tendulkar, who had a relatively slow start to his ODI career with only a solitary hundred to his name in the first 82 ODI matches, Kohli already had 9, but bear in mind Sachin batted mostly at no. 5 or 6 then. Whether Kohli breaks Sachin’s record of 51 ODI hundreds is something everybody is eagerly waiting to see, but the fact that this guy is giving a realistic scare to a record many believed to be untouchable shows the class of the dashing 27 year old. With 25 hundreds already, Kohli can be termed as a modern great. Let’s see how his ODI numbers compare to Sachin’s at a similar stage of his career.
Virat, at 171 matches is way ahead of where Sachin was at this stage. He has hundreds against all test playing nations with 15 of them coming outside India. His consistency in the shorter formats of the game at such a young age is unparallel. It has to be said that pitches are getting flat, and bowlers of the calibour of Wasim Akram or Alan Donald are not really around which wasn’t the case in the era when Sachin began his career. The new field restrictions have made things easier for batsmen but make no mistake, Kohli is a prodigy and ability to score matchwinning hundreds while chasing is a skill he has mastered and is arguably the greatest chaser in the game. But when it comes to the test matches, Kohli hasn’t been the kind of wonderboy he has been in ODIs. His record in tests is by no means a bad one, but he needs to work on his technique outside off stump, which gets exposed sometimes, as Anderson showed.