The 1st test between India and England which took place in Edgbaston was a thrilling encounter between the two teams. The match delivered on its promises and proved to be a befitting start to what would hopefully be a closely fought series. The pitch at the Edgbaston turned out to be a bowler’s paradise with both the Indian and English bowlers scalping wickets with ease. Using the weather and seaming conditions to the fullest, the bowlers troubled batsmen throughout the duration of the test. The only batsman who shined through in the overcast situations was India’s captain Virat Kohli. Scoring 149 off 277 balls and a fighting 51 off 185 in the second innings Virat Kohli looked like the only person who was in control of the situation at some point. India’s loss though could be attributed to the lack of depth in batting than to the incompetency of bowlers and even Kohli is not exempt from this. This is precisely why there should never be a comparison made between Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli.
There are many reasons why a comparison on the basis of just the runs or being the sole flag bearer of Indian batting line-up does not reveal the full truth. Sachin Tendulkar faced bowling legends like Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne and Daniel Vettori when it came to spin bowling. He also had to deal with fearsome pace from bowlers like Brett Lee, Shoaib Akhtar, Allan Donald, Courtney Walsh and Shane Bond etc. all of whom could easily clock 150+ in a test match. There is no comparison between the bowling standards of today and that of the 90s and early 2000s. Add to it the fact that India rarely played so many matches on foreign soil made it an even harder task for Tendulkar and his men to get used to the skill and speed of bowlers. Growing accustomed to English or outside conditions should hardly be a problem for the batsmen now owing to the exposure Virat Kohli and others enjoy. The technological advancement today makes it easier for cricketers to grow accustomed to situations quicker. Want to prepare for a 145+ kmph outswinger, set the bowling machine and play endlessly till you have had your fill, Sachin Tendulkar in his starting years did not have this luxury.
Technology also provides the much needed guidemap to maintaining impeccable fitness which enhances the performance of a player manifold. There should hardly be any doubt over the fact that Sachin Tendulkar and his contemporaries did not have access to the highest level of nutritional knowledge and fitness regimes as compared to today. The abundance of footage related to the skills of each player also gives an extra edge to Virat Kohli and his contemporaries for preparing well against any team’s bowlers, for a better part of his career Sachin did not have that luxury. Thanks to the culture set by Sachin and his team mates from whom Kohli took over the reins of the team he also does not have to face the struggles of inner politics of the management and team. Probably the most famous would be Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja group which used to run a parallel faction in the Indian team when Sachin played in the 90s.
Yes, Virat Kohli is a great batsman as is proved by his current Test ranking and his current form, but it takes something more to be an all time great like Sachin. It will take him years of cricket, years of hard work where he will face adversities and rough patches, and when he comes back from the shadows maybe then someone could compare him to the God of Indian cricket. With a century in the first innings and a half century in the second innings at Edgbaston some people might be tempted to draw parallels between the two batsmen, but one has to remember that Sachin was an important part of the team which taught India to win and with all the help that the current Indian team gets, Kohli and his team is still struggling.
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