Comparison of batsmen over generations

Image courtesy © AFP

Nowadays people compare Virat Kohli to Sachin Tendulkar. The obvious reason is the former is breaking the latter’s record at a decent pace.  No one thought Sachin’s record will be broken so easily. Apparently people including me pay more attention to records that are broken. Then there are other class batsmen now like Steve Smith, AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Joe Root, Kane Williamson etc. But how many present batsmen can bowl like Sachin and break important partnerships with a golden arm. Sachin has more than 150 ODI wickets including two five-fors. Has anyone including me thought about the environment in which Sachin had scored those runs. Is there any similarity in the batting environment existing now and the one that existed when Sachin was playing. Yes there is a huge difference in many aspects if you pay a little attention. Sachin had faced world class bowlers during their prime form on live pitches. Like Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Glenn McGrath, Chaminda Vaas, Saqlain Mushtaq, Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne. Then there were Brett Lee and Shoaib Ahktar who could bowl all balls in an over at 150 kilometers per hour and more. Then there were all-rounders and part timers who could bowl very well like Azhar Mahmood, Abdul Razzaq, Jacques Kallis, Lance Klusener, Hansie Cronje, Chris Cairns, Andrew Flintoff, Steve Waugh, Heath Streak, Andy Blignaut, Sanath Jayasuriya, Aravinda de Silva, Shahid Afridi, Carl Hooper etc. How many present generation bowlers of all genres have the class the above bowlers had. There is Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, James Anderson, Ben Stokes, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Lasith Malinga, Ravichandran Ashwin, Nathan Lyon. Very difficult to say more than that. Further, when Sachin played the grounds were bigger, size of the bats were smaller, outfield was slower, batting powerplays were not there, technologies were limited. So the question is how many batsmen from the present generation can keep the scoreboard moving with a fine batting average and strike rate for them if they face the above class bowlers that Sachin had faced on live pitches and bigger grounds with smaller bats, slower outfield, no batting powerplays and no advanced technologies. Most probably the answer will be very few. Sachin had earned so many runs against many legendary and world class bowlers. I must say the present generation of batsmen are gifted if you consider the fact that five to six hurdles that Sachin had to face they don’t have to. Well I think there is a difference between receiving something as a gift and earning the same thing.

Written on 10th September 2017