Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are the most dangerous players with the bat in the current era, but Australian Ian Chappell still feels that the duo can never match up to the pair of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly as they faced a greater pedigree of faster bowlers. “An argument could be mounted that Kohli and Sharma are India’s best-ever one-day batsmen. The obvious challengers would be the feted combination of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, who tormented international bowlers for 15 years,” Ian Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNcricinfo.
The former Australian skipper spoke about how each international team had at least two quality pacers when Ganguly and Tendulkar were playing. “They (Tendulkar-Ganguly) spent the bulk of that time opening together against some of the best fast-bowling combinations. Facing Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis from Pakistan; Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh of West Indies; Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee of Australia; Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock for South Africa; Lasith Malinga and Chaminda Vaas of Sri Lanka was a serious test of a batsman’s skill.”
He also added that the Indians fans should be privileged to have seen four top-class batters in white-ball cricket play for the team.
“With Tendulkar, it was his all-round mastery of the art but he never ceased to amaze with his back-foot forcing shots on bouncy pitches for a man short in stature. When he was going there was no better off-side player than Ganguly; his drives, so effortlessly played, would pierce even the most crowded cover field.”
About Kohli and Rohit, Chappell wrote, “It’s not so much the huge scores that stamp Kohli’s class but the regularity of his success. He punishes bowlers all round the wicket by keeping the ball on the ground the bulk of the time. Thanks to him eliminating a lot of the risk in batting, his scores are consistently high but still amassed at a good rate.
“Sharma, on the other hand, tends to play risk-free cricket early on, but once he gets motoring, it’s a case of ‘watch out in the stands’. While he does not exude muscle power like Chris Gayle, Sharma hits nearly as many sixes per innings and has a higher strike rate.”