I don’t know why we love comparisons. I’ve not understood how two shades of pink lipsticks can be different.
But I have seen women preferring a “blush pink” to a “bubble gum pink”! I have seen men preferring “crow black” over “spider black” for their suits. I can offer a disclaimer that my fashion sense is not that evolved but it has been a challenge to decode these comparisons.
From music to cars, from bikes to cinema of different generations, almost everything invites a comparison. Therefore, it is not surprising to see Virat Kohli being compared to Sachin Tendulkar. Some say their on-side play is comparable. Others feel Virat’s head is as still as Sachin paaji’s. To me, this reflects poorly on the writer or TV analyst and shows that he’s devoid of ideas to put Virat contribution’s in context. I will explain why.
There are variables one has to consider before accurately comparing two cricketers, which in any case is impossible. In this case, I feel Sachin paaji faced better bowling attacks than what my young friend faces today. Pakistan had Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis followed by Aaqib Javed and Saqlain Mushtaq. South Africa had Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock and Lance Klusener. The West Indies had Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose and an odd Patrick Patterson or Winston Benjamin in support cast.
Australia boasted of Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie, the extremely quick Brett Lee and then the great Shane Warne. Also, in the 90s and early 2000s Perth and Durban used to be quick. Brisbane had bounce and Headingley accommodated swing, and even Mohali used to be fast-bowling friendly.
These days, as economics and board room politics rule cricket (please do read between the lines), the grounds have gone multi-purpose and drop-in pitches ensure challenges for batsmen are limited. Besides an odd Mohammad Amir or a Mitchell Starc, other fast bowlers seem to be filling in the numbers. It is sad that the contest between bat and ball is more irregular at present than what it used to be.
Virat is playing far more cricket than Sachin paaji. He will complete eight years in international cricket in August and has played 252 international games to paaji’s 201 in a similar time span.
Virat has played 40 T20 internationals to paaji’s one. Therefore, Virat’s extremely fit body belongs to his game and not only to the photo shoots. Our friends tell me that he is off parathas and butter chicken and has gone scientific in what he eats. Sachin paaji may have to wait for the next day’s newspaper to read the headline “ENDULKAR...” Virat gets his share of creative taunts immediately after a failure. We learnt to savour the greatness of SD Burman and genius of RD. Similarly, let us relish what Tendulkar gave us and what Kohli is presenting.