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Virat Kohli vs Sachin Tendulkar Records Comparison

Suresh Iyer
September 3, 2021, 10:20
Virat Kohli vs Sachin Tendulkar Records Comparison

Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli are universally regarded as two of the greatest batsmen in India’s cricket history. After Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement from the game, Virat Kohli is the one player that many consider the most likely to surpass Tendulkar’s records. In this article, we analyse the statistics of the two players with a focus on the records the two have set.

Virat Kohli vs Sachin Tendulkar Statistics Comparison

The following tables illustrate the Virat Kohli vs Sachin Tendulkar statistics comparison. You will notice the Virat Kohli vs Sachin Tendulkar centuries comparison shows a narrowing gap.

                                Sachin Tendulkar’s Record in International Cricket
Matches Runs Average Hundreds Fifties
Test 200 15921 53.78 51 68
ODI 463 18426 44.83 49 96
T20I      1        10 10.00


                                   Virat Kohli’s Record in International Cricket
Matches Runs Average Hundreds Fifties
Test   96   7765 51.08 27 27
ODI 254 12169 59.07 43 62
T20I   90   3159 52.65 28

How Cricket Discovered the Two Legends

Let’s start by considering how these two cricketing geniuses were introduced to the game.

School-boy Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar

The world of cricket is indebted to Sachin Tendulkar’s elder brother Ajit who took his younger sibling to meet cricket coach Ramakant Achrekar at Mumbai’s Shivaji Park. Interestingly, Sachin fell short of Achrekar’s expectations, but the coach was willing to give the young man another trial.

Second Time Lucky

The second time around, Achrekar was sufficiently impressed and agreed to mentor the young player. Tendulkar also dreamt of becoming a fast bowler. When Tendulkar attended a training camp for fast bowlers conducted by the MRF Pace Foundation, former Australian bowling legend Dennis Lillee told Sachin that he would be better off as a batsman.

Record Partnership in School Cricket

After a huge partnership with Vinod Kambli in the Harris Shield — a school competition — Tendulkar was viewed as a child prodigy and selected in the Mumbai squad. On his Ranji Trophy debut in December 1988, he scored a hundred becoming the youngest debutant to register a century in the competition.

First Test Match at 16

After a single first-class season, Tendulkar was considered good enough to represent India. At the age of 16, Sachin went on a test match tour of Pakistan. By the end of that series, he had cemented his place in the Indian test squad.

U-19 Hero Virat Kohli

Kohli’s talent was the talk of the town even before he became part of India U-19 in 2006. Immediately after his inclusion in the youth team, Kohli enjoyed a brilliant season with the squad. In acknowledgement of his outstanding talent, Virat was made skipper of the India U-19 to the 2008 U-19 world cup in Malaysia. The young skipper contributed 235 runs in six innings at an average of 47 as the team won the world title on his watch.

Virat Kohli vs Sachin Tendulkar Records Comparison

Teen Kohli Contracted by Royal Challengers Bangalore

Kohli was rewarded for his performance at the U-19 world cup with a $30,000 contract with Royal Challengers Bangalore, in the Indian Premier League. In June 2008, he also received the Border-Gavaskar Scholarship that enabled the young man to train for six months at Cricket Australia’s Brisbane-based Centre of Excellence. Shortly, thereafter, he was shortlisted for selection to India’s squad for the ICC Champions Trophy.

Virat Kohli vs Sachin Tendulkar in Tests

In 200 test matches, Tendulkar has scored 15,921 runs at 53.79, with 51 tons and 68 fifties, including a top score of 248. Counting up to the fourth test versus England, Virat Kohli has played 96 matches wherein he has made   7765 runs at 51.08, with 27 tons and 27 fifties, including a top score of 254.

Virat Kohli vs Sachin Tendulkar in ODIs

Tendulkar has scored 18,426 runs in 463 ODIs at 44.83, with 49 tons and 96 fifties, including a top score of 200. By contrast, Kohli, who began his ODI career in 2008, has scored 11,792 runs in 245 matches so far, at an average of 59.86. He has registered 43 tons and 57 fifties, with a top score of 183. Kohli is currently at the top of the ICC rankings for ODI batsmen.

Virat Kohli vs Sachin Tendulkar in T20Is

There is no comparison possible between the performance of the two players in T20Is, as Sachin featured in only one T20I before he retired from international cricket. Meanwhile, Kohli who played his first T20I game in 2010 has featured in 77 matches wherein he has scored 2,689 runs at 52.73, with 24 fifties, including a top score of 94.

Virat Kohli vs Sachin Tendulkar in IPL

Sachin played 78 IPL matches, all for Mumbai Indians, wherein he made 2334 runs at 34.83, with one ton and 13 fifties. By contrast, Kohli has played in 199 IPL games, in which he has scored 6076 runs at 37.97, with 5 tons and 40 fifties.

Tendulkar’s Records That Kohli Can Aim to Break

When we compare Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar records, we observe that before he ends his international career, Kohli could end up breaking several records set by Tendulkar.

Most Runs in International Cricket

Tendulkar made 34,357 international runs before he quit in 2013. Kohli has since made 17000 runs, counting up to the Leeds test match of the ongoing series in England. Given his phenomenal fitness, I expect Virat to play about eight more years of international cricket. He would need to score about 2000 runs per year to surpass the mark set by Tendulkar, a target that appears eminently gettable.

Most Test Matches Played

No other player has featured in more test matches than Tendulkar’s 200. The fourth test of the recent series in England was Kohli’s 96th test. He would have to play a dozen tests every year on average to harbour any hope of breaking Sachin’s record.

Most Runs in Test Cricket

Sachin scored 15921 runs in 200 test matches. Kohli has scored nearly half of the test runs that Tendulkar made while playing fewer than half the number of matches. So, this is another record within Kohli’s reach.

Most Centuries in Tests

Tendulkar made 51 tons in tests. Kohli has made 27. Even if he played for eight more years, Kohli would have to score three test tons on average every year to draw level. That could be a tough challenge, though Kohli can rise to it.

Most ODI Matches Played

While Sachin has played 463 ODIs, Virat has featured in 254. Kohli would have to play about 25 matches every year on average to surmount that mark.

Virat Kohli vs Sachin Tendulkar Records Comparison

Most Runs in ODIs

Sachin has made 18126 ODI runs. Kohli has made nearly two-thirds while featuring in about half the number of matches, a fact reflected in his far superior batting average. While Tendulkar has averaged 44.83 in ODIs, Kohli has registered an average of 59.07. So, we expect the record for aggregate runs in ODI to belong solely to Kohli on the day he retires from the game.

Most ODI Centuries

While Tendulkar has scored 49 ODI hundreds in 463 matches, Kohli has already made 43 tons from 254 matches. This is one record that Kohli appears certain of breaking, and it could happen within the next three years or so. By the time he retires, Kohli could have about 60 ODI tons to his name.

Most ODI World Cups Played

Sachin holds the record for most ODI world cups played (six) along with Javed Miandad of Pakistan. Kohli has so far featured in three ODI world cups. With the next one looming in 2023, Virat would need to play until 2031 to equal Tendulkar’s record. Ten years from now, Kohli will be 42 years old. So, we are not sure he will be able to equal this record let alone break it.

Sachin Tendulkar Records that Virat Kohli Has Already Broken

  1.     Fastest to reach 19,000 runs in international cricket.
  2.     Fastest to 20,000 international runs.
  3.     Most international tons while batting second.
  4.     Most international tons in a winning cause.

What Tendulkar Has Said About Kohli

“I see many youngsters in the back. They can break my record. Virat (Kohli) and Rohit (Sharma) are the ones. As long as an Indian breaks my record, I don’t mind…”

What Kohli Has Said About Tendulkar

“Tendulkar is the most complete batsman ever and there’s no way one can be compared to him. Comparisons are not fair to Sachin because of what he’s given Indian cricket. There is no way Tendulkar can be compared to any player from my generation…”

Little Known Facts About Sachin Tendulkar

Did you know that Tendulkar:

  • took 79 matches to score his first ODI century?
  • bats and bowls with his right hand but writes with his left?
  • played for Pakistan as a substitute fielder in a practice match against India in 1988?

Little Known Facts About Virat Kohli

Did you know that Kohli:

  • is the only batsman to hit a century in a rain-curtailed T20 match of 15 overs?
  • has made most of his ODI hundreds in the month of October
  • has never faced Pakistan in a test match?


But for the pandemic which has cost Kohli several international matches that he could otherwise have played, the champion batsman would have been closer to breaking most of Tendulkar’s records. By the time he decides to retire, I expect Kohli to be hailed as the greatest Indian batsman to have graced the game, and one of the all-time greats alongside Don Bradman.

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