Indian cricket has always had a stroke of really good luck finding new icons, one after another. Gavaskar’s retirement in 1987 was a huge setback, yet Sachin Tendulkar arrived on the world stage merely two years later and went on to dominate world cricket and become the icon of the nation. When Tendulkar retired after more than two decades of unending brilliance, the Indian squad already had someone to take his spot. Virat Kohli has went on to stabilize himself in the position in the last decade and continues to do so.
Comparison between Gavaskar and Tendulkar was common during the later’s cricketing career and now, comparison between Virat Kohli and Tendulkar has become more and more widespread. According to former English captain Kevin Pietersen, Kohli is ahead of the rest, especially Australian superstar Steve Smith and even ahead of Tendulkar.
“Kohli, hands down. Freakshow. His record chasing, winning games for India with the amount of pressure he consistently lives under, Smith doesn’t even come close,” Pietersen opined about the comparison between Kohli and Smith.
When asked to compare Kohli and Tendulkar, Pietersen said: “Again Virat because of his chasing numbers. His chasing numbers are frightening. He averages 80 in chases, all his one-day hundreds come when chasing. He consistently wins games of cricket for India. He just keeps on turning the numbers, chasing, chasing, chasing.”
According to Pietersen, who himself was known as one of the best batsmen in the world at his prime, individual performances matter much less than winning matches for the team. “That’s what drives me. My Man of the Match performances. It was not the way that I played or how I played. How many Man of the Match performances and how many games that you win for England. And he (Kohli) does that for India. Unreal numbers.”
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