"It is part of the package that people love you."
In a career spanning of twenty-four years, former Indian cricket captain Sachin Tendulkar made a mountain of runs.
Announcing his retirement, Tendulkar left the sport in 2013. Ever since his departure, there have been many debates and discussions of his successor and players which can equal his achievements.
Like everything else, nothing comes easy in cricket. But then again to accomplish major success, nothing is impossible.
For anyone aiming to play at the same level as Tendulkar will show consistency and score big.
The Little Master had made 15,921 runs in Test cricket He also has 18,426 in One Day International (ODI) cricket. Combining Test and ODI cricket, he has scored 100 centuries.
He has two double hundred highest scores in both formats, which are 248* (Test) and 200 *(ODI).
Virat Kohli is certainly making inroads into his records, leading India high in the ODI and test rankings along the way. There are also some exciting players coming through the ranks who have the talent and potential.
We look at five Indian players who can potentially match or surpass Sachin Tendulkar.
The right-handed middle-order batsman Virat Kohli is the ultimate successor of Sachin Tendulkar.
The Indian captain is at the summit of the batting ODI and Test rankings. The Delhi born player averages high in all three formats – be it Test, ODI or T20 Cricket.
Virat is a match winner and can chase big totals. He can play textbook and up the ante when the situation demands. It is likely that Virat will beat Sachin’s records. Coming to terms as the successor of Sachin, Virat told the media.
“I tried to fight it initially. This country loves comparisons. The moment I started doing well I was already compared to him (Tendulkar) but it is like chalk and cheese in my book. People come up and have debate and say you can break his records.
“There was so much persistence from the fans letting them know what they wanted from me. I stood on the boundary and all they say is they want a century from me.
“It is part of being a cricketer in India. It is part of the package that people love you.
“I started to appreciate it. After a while I thought these people love me, they want me to do well. It is just they have a different way of expressing it.
Rishabh Pant is a young exciting player from Haridwar, Uttarakhand. His average and strike rate in Test cricket suggests that he is a very powerful left-handed batsman.
If he brings his Test cricket form into ODI he definitely will be a force for India. Being a wicket-keeper he has a good chance of replacing Mahendra Singh Dhoni long term.
Representing Delhi Daredevils, Pant made a fantastic 97 off forty-three balls against Gujarat Lions during the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL). In that innings, he hit six 4s and nine towering 6s.
Praising his innings, Sachin Tendulkar went on Twitter, tweeting:
“One of the best Innings I have seen in the IPL & that includes all ten seasons.”
Pant had made two centuries early in his Test career and averages high in the five-day format.
Right-hand opener Prithvi Shaw has made a sensational entry to cricket. Ever since he burst on to the scene, comparisons have been made to cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar.
Shaw made a name for himself when he led the India under-19 team to victory at the 2018 Cricket World Cup. During that tournament he averaged 65.25, scoring 261 runs in five innings.
At the age of 18 and 165 days, Shaw became the youngest opening batsman to play at the IPL. This historic moment came in the 22nd league stage match against Kings XI Punjab on April 23, 2018.
In the 2018 IPL, he made his presence felt, making 245 runs in nine innings at a staggering strike rate of 153.12.
Making his Test debut against West Indies at home, he became the youngest player ever to smash a century in his first match. He smashed 134 in that innings.
Shaw has been compared to Sachin Tendulkar since playing school cricket.
Mumbai born Sarfaraz Khan is an extreme talent who plays in the middle order. Representing team India at the under-19 2014 and 2016 Cricket World Cups, Safraz has made seven fifty-plus scores. This is a record in itself.
Similar to Sachin Tendulkar he is a leg spinner, proving to be useful when needing a wicket. Whilst he is yet to play for the senior national team, he is one that can emulate the success of Sachin.
In the 2019 IPL, playing for Kings XI Punjab, he made 180 runs in five innings. Averaging in the mid-forties, he also had a very good strike rate.
If he remains injury free, he will get a chance to play for the Men in Blue and can be a regular feature.
Sarfaraz is known for playing the scoop shot behind the wicketkeeper very well.
Shubman Gill is a flexible right-hand middle-order batsman from Fazilka, Punjab.
At the 2018 under-19 Cricket World Cup, he made the most runs for India, hitting 372 in five innings.
He was awarded player of the tournament, with the International Cricket Council (ICC) naming his as the ‘rising star’ of the Indian squad.
At the age of 19, he was given his ODI debut against New Zealand in the fourth match of the series at Sneddon Park, Hamilton, on January 31, 2019.
According to the ICC, he was one of the eight players to watch out for during the 2019 IPL.
In his second season of the IPL for Kolkata Night Riders he made 296 runs in fourteen innings at an average of 32.88.
All the players above can adapt to any situation and potentially score runs consistently as did Tendulkar.
Any comparison with the ‘Master Blaster’ is always going to be debatable. Taking into account his performances, Virat Kohli is definitely a successor to Sachin Tendulkar.
Cricket lovers may have to wait another decade to see some of the young players reach the same level as Tendulkar.