Virat Kohli believes it is unfair to compare him with legend like Sachin Tendulkar
Virat Kohli said that Sachin Tendulkar has done a lot for Indian cricket and he should not be compared to the current Indian cricket team players.cricket Updated: Nov 05, 2017 08:41 IST
It won’t be a surprise if someone who grew up in the 1990s credits Sachin Tendulkar for his passion for cricket. Every generation has its icon. And the pint-sized batsman taking on the world’s fiercest bowlers was why it was easy for the cricket-fanatic country to move on from Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev.
Skipper Virat Kohli too was among those who tried to emulate Tendulkar. Chants of “Sachin, Sachin” may have given way to backing for the flamboyant captain every time he walks out on to the park, but the man turning 29 on Sunday feels a comparison only lowers the stature of Tendulkar.
Speaking in the show ‘Breakfast with Champions’, Kohli said: “One must draw comparisons between people within whom it can be drawn. Comparing me with someone for whom I started playing cricket, there’s no comparison in terms of skill; he’s the most complete batsman ever. I’ve always said this, he doesn’t deserve this… Because of what he has given to us, he doesn’t deserve to be compared with us… This generation, no chance!”
Falling for prank
He recalled his first interaction with Tendulkar in the Indian dressing room when Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Munaf Patel and Irfan Pathan played a prank on him.
“I’d probably told someone I was extremely tense and wanted to meet Tendulkar. Munaf Patel, the biggest instigator of this prank, was like, ‘Well you’ll have to bow before him the first time you meet. It’s what every junior cricketer who comes in does. Up to you, we don’t take responsibility later.’ I was convinced. Honestly. So the first time I met him, he was sitting right opposite and I was awestruck. It did take some time for me to realise there isn’t a television set between the two of us and I met him and bowed as asked. It was than that he made me realise what my seniors had done with me.”
Kohli became the Test captain in early 2015 and took charge of the team in the shorter formats earlier this year after MS Dhoni stepped aside. It didn’t affect the team, which has been on a prolific run of late.
Virat Kohli said his understanding with Dhoni has helped a successful transition in leadership. “The transition went pretty well. No one felt there’s a problem. Even on the field, no one realised there has been a transition. We still crack jokes and have a good laugh in between just like we did before. So, I feel really lucky he’s still around, during my initial years of captaincy, and I’m still learning things from him.”
Dhoni not all business
The skipper revealed that Dhoni, nicknamed ‘Captain Cool’ for his ice-cool approach in tense situations, wasn’t all that serious as he appears on the field and has a laugh or two during matches. “MS and I have a great understanding. For example, if we’re running between the wickets and he says two, I simply close my eyes and run. Because I’m so sure of his judgement, I know I’ll make it.
“I don’t think I’ve come across a better cricketing brain just in terms of planning; knowing what’s happening in the game and can be done… Sometimes I like to follow my instinct as well but if I ask him something eight or nine times out of 10, he tells you things that always work. So, it’s a blessing to have him.”
Kohli also said despite talk of rift between the two after the change in captaincy, nothing ever affected their understanding out in the middle. “Our friendship has grown over the years immensely,” he said. “There have been times when people have tried to poke controversies, but neither does he read any of those things, and neither do I. Hence, when we go out together, people can see us gelling and there’s nothing between us. And we are like, ‘we never knew what was on’.”