Should Virat Kohli be hailed as The next Sachin?
For the past two decades, the burden of Indian Cricket was carried by legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar . Once he called it a day from all forms of the game, there was a question that was raised from various quarters. The question is “Can anyone in the current Indian Cricket team has the quality to fill in the big shoes of Sachin?” Among the current crop of players, Cheteshwar Pujara has been already seen as a replacement for Rahul Dravid. On the other hand, it is too early to take a call on Ajinkya Rahane as he is new to the side and only one short ball is enough to dismantle Suresh Raina. So these three men won’t be the perfect solution for replacing Sachin. Now the reality is that it’s down to two capable men who are hailed as future captains of the team, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. Both have the potential to do the need of the hour.
Many experts felt that the baton of the Mumbai batting School has been shifting hands from the King Sachin to the Prince Rohit. Rohit Sharma has been in impressive form of late and it doesn’t mean that he has the temperament to replace Sachin. Everyone knows how talented Rohit is but he consistently fails in overseas conditions. It is very disheartening to see the way Rohit is failing to convert his talent into success. He flopped big time in South Africa after having a decent season at home. But who knows with the kind of talent Rohit posses, the day he will be dominating the opposition bowlers is not far away.
On the other hand, his teammate Virat Kohli is in commanding form with the bat. Unlike Rohit, he has performed well in overseas conditions. He is just 25 years old and already has 18 ODI centuries in his bag out of which 12 came while chasing. In the longer version of the game, he has notched up 5 tons under his belt. In the recently concluded test series against South Africa, Kohli was promoted to number four in the batting order, the spot occupied by Sachin for over two decades. He replied in style by scoring a century in the first innings and almost scoring another one in the next as he eventually got out four short of yet another well deserved ton. Every match after match, Kohli is growing in confidence and began to be the mainstay of the Indian batting line up, the job Sachin did during his career. Within no time Kohli raced to 5000 runs in ODI’s, off just 114 innings, a record he shares with Sir Viv Richards for being the fastest to do so.
There’s little doubt that Virat Kohli is one of the best batsmen among the current crop of Indian cricketers. Few will refuse to acknowledge the talent that Kohli possesses. Given Kohli’s prowess with the bat, comparisons with Sachin Tendulkar are inevitable. And with each match Kohli plays, he is making the comparisons more interesting. Despite having already become a star batsman in the Indian team’s substantial batting order, Kohli still has a long career ahead of him. But there’s no denying that at this age Kohli is well ahead of Sachin at a similar stage in the latter’s career. In fact, should he continue to perform consistently for his team, several former cricketers, including Sunil Gavaskar believe that Kohli could surpass Sachin’s ODI records. Similar traits can be seen in Kohli, who is gradually building himself into a destructive as well as a dependable member of the Indian squad.
Rather than hailing him as the next Sachin Tendulkar, let him be the First Virat Kohli. Now the onus is on Kohli himself to set some benchmarks for the youngsters who follow his footsteps.
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