Virat Kohli’s 30th one-day international century on Sunday has again raised the question of just how close the current India skipper will get to the ODI batting record of Sachin Tendulkar, which was once considered untouchable.
Based on Kohli’s current rate of more than three centuries a year, the once unthinkable prospect of Tendulkar’s mark of 49 ODI centuries being surpassed is now a very real possibility. Even if the man himself admits it will take “a hell of an effort” to chase down the legendary Indian. “The great man is quite a bit away,” Kohli said on Sunday. With 8587 runs and 30 centuries after 194 games, Kohli holds a significant advantage over Tendulkar at the same stage of his career. Tendulkar played his 194th ODI in July 1998, at which point he had 6942 runs and ‘just’ 16 centuries.

Kohli’s average (55.75 to 40.59), strike rate (91.72 to 85.33) and half-centuries (44 to 42) also put him well ahead of his predecessor at the same stage of his career. While comparing eras is always fraught, the younger man has made a rapid start in his pursuit of Tendulkar’s record.

SACHIN v VIRAT The Raw Numbers

Sachin Tendulkar
M: 463 | R: 18426 | Ave: 44.83 | 100s: 49 | 50s: 96 | SR: 86.23 | HS: 200*

Virat Kohli
M: 194 | R: 8587 | Ave: 55.75 | 100s: 30 | 50s: 44 | SR: 91.72 | HS: 183

Based purely on Kohli’s current rate, he could break Tendulkar’s record of 49 centuries before his 35th birthday.

In an interview last year, Virat Kohli had insisted he found comparisons with Sachin Tendulkar “embarrassing”. Assuming he still feels that way, the Indian captain might as well get used to the idea of spending the next decade or so with flushed cheeks. For those who missed it, India beat Srilanka 5-0 in the ODI series. Taking center stage, obviously, was Kohli, whose 110 took India out of the woods. In the process, the 28-year-old broke the record and became the 2nd highest century scorer in ODI’s.

Virat Kohli vs Sachin Tendulkar: Comparing the numbers

The chart traces the evolution of Kohli’s average over the 163 ODI innings he has played so far. This is then compared to how Tendulkar’s average evolved match-by-match over the same number of innings.

A fairer comparison may be to the batsmen of their own generation. Kohli’s 72 Test innings were divided into seven periods. His average during each period was compared to the median average of the batsman who played between the start of the first and last innings in each segment. Players who batted after number seven were removed so that results are not skewed by tail-enders.

Virat Kohli’s present age – 28 years and 302 days. Going by stats – Sachin, the exact same age, had amassed 11,069 runs in 278 innings at an average of 43.92. While Kohli has a total of 8537 runs after playing 186 innings, with an average of 55.75. The senior lies a mark over the latter’s century mark but stays distant in terms of the fifties scored in ODIs. Interestingly, both are the only players to have notched up more ODI tons as compared to their age.


What do they say about Sachin 

We have had champions, we have had legends, but we have never had another Sachin Tendulkar and we never will.” — TIME magazine

“When we were growing up, we all used to watch Sachin. He was like God to us, he had that aura around him.” — MS Dhoni

Cricketers like Sachin come once in a lifetime and I am privileged he played in my time.” — Wasim Akram

The thing I like the most about Sachin is his intensity. After being in the game for so long, he still has the same desire to do well for India in any international match. I tell you what, this man is a legend.” – Sourav Ganguly

He is someone sent from up there to play cricket and go back.” — Ravi Shastri

There are two kinds of batsmen in the world. One, Sachin Tendulkar. Two, all the others.” — Andy Flower

On a train from Shimla to Delhi, there was a halt at one of the stations. The train stopped by for few minutes as usual. Sachin was nearing a century, batting on 98. The passengers, railway officials, everyone on the train waited for Sachin to complete the century. This Genius can stop time in India!” — Peter Roebuck


What do they say about Virat 

“Watching Kohli bat, reminds me of Tendulkar.” – Michael Clarke

As Of Now, Virat Kohli Is Greatest Batsman Of The World.” – Saurav Ganguly

“I Have Watched Sachin But And I Must Say He ( Kohli ) Seems To Have The Ability To Bat Like Him.” – Lan Healy

There Aren’t Too Many batsmen In World Cricket Today, Who Love Chasing And The Burden Of Trying To Overtake A Big Score. The More The Pressure On Virat, The Better He Plays.” – Harbhajan Singh

“To Became A Good Player, You Need Talent. To Became A Great Player You Need An Attitude Like Kohli.” – Sunil Gavaskar

“There are players who are in form and there is Kohli who wins you games again and again.” – Yuvraj Singh


Is comparison between Virat Kohli & Sachin Tendulkar justified?

Comparisons are never good in sport. It fails to do justice to the players involved and puts unnecessary pressure on the current player. In our opinion, it is good for the sake of having academic discussions but may not do justice to the players involved. As Gavaskar had once rightly said, “Comparisons are really no good in sport, especially if it is a comparison between different eras and generations, for there are so many variables that come into play, starting from the quality of the opposition to playing conditions.

Take for instance Tendulkar’s ODI record in the 1990s, statistics will never be able to do justice to the impact that he had on the Indian batting. So, Kohli might have a better record till now than Sachin; but there is no parameter to measure Sachin’s impact.

Another drawback of such comparisons is that it puts unnecessary pressure on the current player. Virat Kohli, in this case, knows that his every performance will be scrutinized and compared with that of Tendulkar’s. An incident in my workplace gave me a remote idea of what could be going inside Kohli’s mind.

Honestly I feel embarrassed” – Kohli on the comparison with Sachin

Tendulkar on his part has always lauded Kohli’s dedication to the game. He had in fact once said that Kohli could indeed break his own records. But in a recent interview, he put to rest any comparison between the two; Sachin said, “I don’t see similarities in the playing style. He (Kohli) has his own style. He likes to flick the bat in hand before every ball. It’s part of his preparation. I never did that, each batsman does things differently.“ But in spite of the clarifications by the two great players, the unfortunate part is that this comparison is not going to stop. Probably it is something to do with human psychology. And this comparison is only going to increase with each of Kohli’s great performances.



If Virat plays as many Test innings (329) and ODI knocks (452) as Sachin, the results, on current form, make interesting reading. Sachin would stay ahead in Tests. Kohli will romp ahead in ODIs. Put together, Kohli may score more centuries.

Virat has to play 10-12 years more with the same form to touch the mountain of runs Sachin has scored in ODI. Virat had always been in number 3 position. where as God Sachin was 5-6 consistently for 60 odd one dayers. Sachin’s record is mind blowing considering the fact that he scored his first one day century in the 79th match and then went on to make 49 more. His record of runs cannot be humanly broken.

No doubt Virat will rewrite history in his own ways!

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