A statistical look at how far or ahead will Virat Kohli be from Sachin’s records at the end of his career
Virat Kohli is a modern-day legend. He has reached such a stage in his career that more than his contemporaries, he would be compared to himself, time and again. And as has been the case with other legends of the game, he is bound to be compared with his idol, Sachin Tendulkar.
At 29, the Indian captain is already counted among all-time ODI greats and is raising the bar higher every day. He had a break out year in Tests in 2016, with his average jumping from 45 to 50. And comparisons in Indian cricket start with your debut.
In this article, I am not going to compare Virat and Sachin at similar stages of their respective careers but would try to project Kohli’s career further, about 8-9 years into the future.
So let’s dive in, one record at a time.
1) The highest number of centuries in Test matches:
Sachin’s 51 hundred came in 329 innings, although he didn’t score a single one in his last 40 innings. Virat has scored 17 in 101 innings. He is still 34 hundred behind.
Virat has scored a century every 5.94 innings. He may not score Test hundreds with such frequency in his coming years. When Sachin scored his 51st hundred, he was scoring them at 5.67 innings per hundred. At the time of his retirement, that rate went up to 6.45. For Virat Kohli, a good conservative estimate would give us 8 innings per hundred.
The thing with Virat is that even if he touches the ’50 Test hundreds’ mark, he would not play further just to break the record. That’s not the Virat fans know. He would only play if he has the desire to win and can contribute to the team.
2) Highest run aggregate in ODIs:
One-day cricket is one format in which even if Virat Kohli retires today, he has nothing left to prove to anyone. But still, it would be interesting to see how high a mountain he would have scaled when he leaves the game.
Sachin scored 18,426 ODI runs in 463 matches, playing 452 innings at an average of 44.83. Virat currently has 9030 runs, almost the halfway mark. Those have come in 202 matches, playing 194 innings at an average of 55.74.
Assuming he plays 160 ODI matches more, accounting for injuries and other factors, his current average of 55.7 gives him about 7500 more runs. That’s a total of 16,500 runs in about 360 matches, still 2000 short of Sachin. And it is a lot more probable that his average might fall. A batting average of 53 at the end of his career puts him at 15,900 runs, way short of Sachin.
3) The highest number of centuries in ODIs:
Virat Kohli scores one-day hundreds for breakfast. Such has been his prolific nature in the format that something short of a hundred is often considered a failure, much like Sachin. He is at his best while chasing, and if Virat Kohli gets going in a run-chase, he wins the match for the team on most occasions, increasing his hundred counts on the way.
Sachin was just one short of ’50 ODI hundreds’ mark when he retired from the format. His 49 hundred came in 452 innings, at a rate of 9.22 innings per hundred which was way above his contemporaries and people who played before him. Virat is already sitting at 32 hundred in 192 innings, and a series without a Kohli hundred looks like an impossible dream.
Virat’s centuries have come at a rate of exactly 6 innings per hundred. In this era, Hashim Amla has scored at 5.96 innings per hundred, Quinton de Kock at 6.76 innings per hundred, Shikhar Dhawan at 8.36 innings per hundred and AB de Villiers at 8.6 innings per hundred.
Virat is only 18 hundred short of breaking Sachin’s record. In 160 matches at 6 innings per hundred, he would score 26 more. Even a ‘slower’ rate of 8 innings per hundred would give him 20 centuries. By the end of his career, he would not only break Sachin’s record, but he would also sail past it comfortably.
4) Highest run Scorer in international cricket:
Sachin played only one T20I ever, his and India’s debut game in the format. Since then T20 cricket has come a long way. It has become as much a part of the international calendar as ODIs and Tests. It is the main money-making machine for cricket boards across the world.
Sachin aggregated 34,357 international runs in his career. Virat is at 15,631. He is still about 1500 runs short of the half-way mark. Virat Kohli might become the first man on the planet to touch the 35,000 run mark in international cricket and go well beyond.
The previous analysis of Test and ODI runs puts him at 31,500 runs at the end of his career, T20Is excluded. He currently sits at 1956 runs in T20Is. If he is to play for 8-9 years more, he can easily triple this number.
Any calculation here seems trivial. If both the previous estimates of Test and ODI runs come true and add to that the runs he would score in T20Is, Virat Kohli might become the first man on the planet to touch the 35,000 run mark in international cricket and go well beyond.