When Sunil Gavaskar retired in 1987, an Indian cricket fan feared of losing out on its idol, the thought of not being able to boast of having one of the best batsman in the world gripped everyone’s mind. It stayed for few years until the arrival of Sachin Tendulkar. After making his debut in 1989, he slowly made his presence felt in the early 90s and then captured the world with dazzling strokeplay through that decade and continued to rule world cricket in 2000s till he hanged his boots in 2013. The similar feared returned. But not as intense as Gavaskar’s retirement as by the time Sachin had retired, India had already found Virat Kohli, who like Gavaskar and Tendulkar in their times, rules world cricket and is often regarded as the best batsman currently. Naturally, just like Tendulkar drew comparisons with Gavaskar, Kohli was pitted as the next Sachin.
Pakistan legend Javed Miandad, however, believes it is unfair to compare players from different generations. In a recent video on Youtube, former Pakistan batsman Aamer Sohail had talked about how both Kohli and Miandad helped in lifting the performance of the rest of their team. But in an interview, Miandad said that it is hard to compare modern-day cricketers from players of his generation, as he played in an era where it was not easy to score runs.
Miandad said it is difficult to find another Sunil Gavaskar or Sachin Tendulkar as they were a class apart.
“If you are talking of the street fighter attitude, then I don’t think you can compare anyone from my era with the present generation. You cannot make another Sunny Gavaskar or Sachin Tendulkar. You can idolise someone but that won’t change an individual’s class or quality. You can’t compare players from different generations,” Miandad was quoted as saying by Telegraph.
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Miandad, who played 124 Tests and 233 ODIs in an international career spanning close to two decades, was among the finest batsmen to have represented Pakistan. He scored 8832 runs an average of 52.57 in Test cricket and in ODIs he had 7381 runs at an average of 41.70.
Miandad said he had to face the likes of Malcolm Marshall, Richard Hadlee, Dennis Lillee, and Jeff Thomson, who bowled at a brisk pace on much faster tracks.
“Cricket was tough during my time. We had to face the likes of Malcolm Marshall, Richard Hadlee, Dennis Lillee, and Jeff Thomson. They bowled express pace and the wickets were more bouncier and faster. You had to adapt to different conditions and how quickly you acclimatised defined your class,” he added.
Commenting on the current lot of great batsmen – Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson, Joe Root, and Babar Azam – Miandad maintained a similar stance of not going into comparisons.
“The nature of wickets and conditions has also changed. You can’t compare a Virat or a Steve Smith or Babar Azam… All are good but there’s still some difference in quality. The ones who deliver consistently and in different conditions go on to become greats,” he further said.
The former Pakistan captain and head coach, however, lauded Virat Kohli for his consistency in all three formats. Kohli averages over 50 in Test, ODIs and T20Is and is also the only cricketer to feature in top 10 of ICC rankings for batsmen in all three formats.
“It’s the lasting impression that a player leaves that helps him stand out. That is why people still talk about Gavaskar or Tendulkar. If you make four centuries and then four ducks, people will remember the centuries. No one can score a hundred in every innings and you have to learn from mistakes. Virat, in that respect, has been admirable,” Miandad signed off.