For most, Tendulkar is a sacrosanct, almost untouchable figure; a player whose greatness transcended generations, whose achievements with the bat many feel will forever remain impregnable. It may well turn out to be that way. But Kohli, at least for now, threatens to throw that into disarray.
Syed Kirmani, India’s 1983 World Cup-winning wicket-keeper, says Tendulkar and Kohli are from two different eras and there comparison in terms of impact wouldn’t be fair but acknowledges that “Kohli is well on his way to getting there.”
The 1990s saw the emergence of Tendulkar as India’s greatest match-winner. He was so often India’s sole warrior, separating his side from victory and defeat. But Tendulkar’s most valiant attempts often ended in despairing defeat.
Kohli is quite the antithesis of his idol. Tendulkar was always grounded, soft-spoken — a piece of pre-liberalisation conservatism. Kohli, who breathes fire and hurls abuses at the opposition, unfriendly crowds included, is the new India: In your face, unapologetic and result-oriented.
As a complete batsman, Tendulkar had few peers; he was an immortal among mortals, someone who rewrote record books with the same easy flourish with which he wielded his willow. His numbers may forever prove to be insurmountable. But once in a while, a young man challenges the old guard, throwing down the gauntlet and then thwarting it himself.
Virat Kohli is that man. And he is just 27.
DIFFICULT WORDS AND MEANINGS:
- Sacrosanct: above or beyond criticism
- Transcended: to rise above or go beyond
- Impregnable: strong enough to resist attack
- Disarray: throw into disorder
- Valiant: boldly courageous
- Despairing: something that causes hopelessness
- Antithesis: the direct opposite
- Hurls: to throw or cast down
- Immortal: remembered or celebrated through all time
- Flourish: to be successful
- Wielded: to exercise (power, authority, influence, )
- Insurmountable: incapable of being overcome
- Throw down the gauntlet: to challenge
- Thwarting: to oppose successfully