‘ODI mein toh Sachin paaji ko pakad lunga’: When Virat Kohli said he’d emulate Tendulkar’s heroics

Two of the greatest Indian batsman to have ever played the gentleman’s game, Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli will go down in history with legendary status. While Tendulkar remains an all-time great, Kohli has come the closest to emulating the Master Blaster’s heroics. 

The 33-year-old from Delhi has often been compared to Tendulkar, and why not, he only needs six more ODI centuries to surpass the latter’s tally. The fact that Kohli came this close to Tendulkar, speaks volumes about his talent, despite his ongoing troubles. 

When Kohli first played for India, as a 19-year-old nobody could have predicted that he’d be compared to one of the all-time greats in Tendulkar, but he has earned that status with his hard work and determination down the years. 

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Even as a youngster, Kohli always believed in himself, and felt that he could emulate Tendulkar’s heroics. In a recent interview, Ashwin Krishnan, head of Sports Marketing at Oakley recalled how he met a young Virat Kohli, who stated that he could match Tendulkar’s record, at least in the ODI format. 

Speaking on Jamie Alter’s Glance show, The Alternate View, Krishnan recalled, “That Virat Kohli’s one-day record is phenomenal is an understatement. And he is inching closer to that record of Sachin’s – whether he gets there or not that’s not the point. I will tell you a little story. In 2013, we went to sign Virat in LA, for Oakley. And we were sitting there. Virat had come with his manager Bunty and I had come down from Mumbai.”

He continued, “I was doing the Champions League and has gone down just to sign him. And sitting there, as a 24-year-old with 9 ODI hundreds under his belt, he sat down and said, ‘One-Day mein toh main paaji (Sachin) ko pakad loonga. Paaji had 49 hundreds.”

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Krishnan further added that Kohli’s ongoing slump wasn’t simply due to him being out of form instead his mind wasn’t in the right place, and that once he finds his golden touch, runs will continue to flow from his bat. 

“For a boy sitting there and saying I’ll get 40 one-day hundreds, just like that – not to mention the Test hundreds that he had – goes to show his confidence. So when somebody says Virat Kohli is out of form, I say ‘No, he is not out of form’. Just his mind is not in the right place. He is exactly the Virat Kohli he was. You cannot take away from a man of that quality. You cannot,” asserted Krishnan. 

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