Figuring out the greatest player of all time is difficult when they are from different eras. Sachin Tendulkar or Virat Kohli – who is the better batsman? That question has been posed time and time again and everyone has a different answer to it. It gets even more intriguing when it becomes a battle between a batsman and a bowler. Tendulkar vs Australian spin legend Shane Warne was a rivalry to watch. But how would Warne fare when bowling to, the current best batsman in the world, Kohli?
At least we know how the leg spinner will bowl to Kohli, who cracked consecutive centuries this week against Australia, to inch closer to Sachin Tendulkar’s all-time record of 49 ODI centuries.
Warne ruled out going into attacking mode against Kohli. “I think the one thing you need to do with Virat, which is one thing teams don’t do enough of, is take away both sides of the wicket,” Warne told ESPNcricinfo.
“If you’re going to bowl to Virat Kohli, you either bowl at leg stump and protect the on side, or you bowl wide of off stump and you protect the off side. You cannot bowl at the stumps, because he can hit you both ways. So, I think you’ve to take out one side of the field. Protect just one side of the field, that’s how you bowl to very good players,” he added.
Warne even revealed how he would try and get Kohli’s wicket – should they ever come face to face. “I’d be bowling wide of off stump and letting him try to cover drive with a slip, short cover and some protection out there. So then it’ll be very hard for him to get it over the leg side. That’s what I’d be trying to do and hopefully get a little bit lucky and he mis-hits one.”
The leggie had tweeted he was “contemplating” whether Kohli was better than Tendulkar and Brian Lara.
I just got asked if I thought @imVkohli is better than @BrianLara or @sachin_rt
Let me think about that and come back to you I said. @ivivianrichards to me was the best batsman after Bradman, but in modern times mmmmm. Tough one ! Thoughts followers whilst I contemplate ?
— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) 9 March 2019
“I got asked the question last night and again this morning: is Virat Kohli the best player in one-day cricket? Is he better than Tendulkar, is he better than Lara? I’m still thinking about it, I’m still trying to work that out.
“The one thing we can say is I don’t think we have seen anyone dominate one-day cricket like Virat Kohli has. The best player I saw – [Don] Bradman’s the best so he doesn’t even come into the equation – but Viv Richards is the best player I saw. As a player, playing against them, Lara and Tendulkar were the two best players that I bowled to.
“You know records are different in different eras and it’s very hard to judge. All you can judge is how a player is in their era, and Virat Kohli is so far ahead in one-day cricket than everybody else – in hundreds made, especially while chasing – that sets him apart from everybody else that is playing. But is he as destructive as someone like Viv Richards was? And then you look at Lara and Tendulkar and how good they were… so I’m still working that out. Working out whether Virat is better than all of them, or just as good, or not quite as good. It’s an interesting topic and debate that’s fun to have with your followers on social. I’ll come up with an answer very soon.”