There is no better pub conversation than comparing two greats in a sport. For cricket fans, that conversation recently has been centered around a pair of legendary Indian batsmen and how the two stack up against each other. Sachin Tendulkar finished his wildly successful 24-year career with many records that Virat Kohli has been trying to run down ever since.
Kohli is the leading run-scorer in T20Is, though many feel that comes with an asterisk as the format wasn’t widespread when Tendulkar played, and he only appeared in a single T20I. The legend is, however, the leading run scorer in both Tests and ODIs, with the fifty-over format being front and center, with India facing New Zealand in the semi-final of the 2023 World Cup this week.
Kohli Vs. Tendulkar
Kohli and Tendulkar are currently tied with 49 ODI centuries each for their career. Kohli has (potentially) two more matches in this World Cup to knock another 100 and be clear on his own with 50 centuries to Tendulakr’s 49. Tendulkar has been retired for over ten years, and it is incredible his record still stands, given how many ODIs are played each year as teams and fans continue to expand their focus on the white ball game over the traditional Test format.
It is difficult to compare the greatness of the two batsmen, given the different styles of cricket played today versus when Tendulkar was at his peak. While 15 years might not seem like a long time, the difference in how teams attack the ball from the outset of an innings is night and day compared to how Tendulkar was taught to bat. This can be seen by Kohli achieving his 49th ODI hundred in just 277 innings, while Tendulkar took 451.
One thing to note is the way scoring has changed through the years. On a good wicket, teams will be looking to score 350+ and up towards 400. When Tendulkar was the best batsman in the world, those numbers were rare, if not unheard of. Kohli has Tendulkalr bested in both average (58.48 to 44.83) and strike rate (93.55 to 86.24), which is to be expected given the more attacking style of play and better batting wickets Kohli has been used to. Tendulkar remains the 50s king, with 96 half-centuries to 70 for Kohli.
One thing to consider is the standard of opposition. Tendulkar picked up five of his centuries against associate teams, four against Kenya and one against Namibia. This means 44 of his tons were against the one full-member nation. Kohli has had no such padding of his century stats, as all 49 of his knocks have come against the nine best nations in the world. Tendulkar picked on Australia with nine of his 100s coming against them, while for Kohli, Sri Lanka has felt his wrath with ten of his hundreds against India’s island neighbor.
Kohli is 35 years old and has a playing style that suggests he has years ahead of him at the crease should he maintain his level of play. He has also been in outstanding form this tournament, nothing a pair of hundreds against South Africa and Bangladesh. Even so, claiming the outright record in the World Cup final – and in front of his adoring home fans – would be the perfect way for Kohli to step out of Tendulakar’s ODI shadow and become the all-time leader in international centuries in the format.
You can bet on a 100 to be scored in India’s semi-final against New Zealand through BetXchange. It is 8/10 for a century and 9/10 for no such score. You can also get Kohli at 28/10 to be India’s best batsman, where he is in a three-way tie for favorite along with Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill.