Sachin Tendulkar is one of the most iconic sportspersons in the world. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time along with the likes of Sir Don Bradman, Sir Viv Richards and Brian Lara, and perhaps the greatest batsman of his own generation.
Tendulkar, who made his Test debut in 1989 at the age of 16, played 200 Tests (only one to do so), scored 15921 runs in 329 innings with 51 centuries and 68 half-centuries, at an average of 53.78.
His career spanned from 1989 to 2013, when he played his 200th and last Test match at his home ground of Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, at the age of 40.
Many young batsmen have been touted as the next Tendulkar and many have speculated that his records in both Tests and ODIs will not be broken. However, there are candidates who are lurking in the proximity of breaking atleast one of Sachin’s records of either runs scored or centuries; the two most coveted achievements in the game of cricket.
Here are four such players who may break one or both of Sachin’s record of most runs scored and most centuries in Test cricket.
Check them out here:
JOE ROOT (ENG)-Runs
27-year-old Yorkshire native Joe Root is widely regarded as the part of the modern Fab-four of the batting; which also includes Steve Smith of Australia, Kane Williamson of New Zealand and Virat Kohli of India.
Root has played 65 Tests for England and scored 5701 runs at an average of 53.28 with 13 centuries and 37 half-centuries. A technically proficient batsman and someone who’s batting is easy on eyes, Root has been a consistent run scorer for England over the years since his debut in 2012.
When Root scores, he scores big; however, he has a tendency to not convert his fifties into his centuries. But if he scores a hundred, he usually goes on to get a big hundred and helps in dominating the opposition. His consistent run making has put him in the hopefuls of one day breaking the record of most runs of Sachin Tendulkar.
VIRAT KOHLI (IND) - Hundreds
Indian captain Virat Kohli has been on a run and century making spree for India off lately. Making his Test debut for India in 2011, Kohli has made 5554 runs in 66 Tests so far. He has also scored 21 centuries and 16 half-centuries with an average of 58.26.
Kohli’s century making spree has put him on the number two spot in most international centuries lists with 56 centuries, behind Sachin’s record of 100 centuries.
In the form, Kohli has been for the last two years and the number of centuries he has been scoring, Kohli is definitely poised to become the highest century maker in Tests, if he keeps up his current rate of scoring centuries.
STEVE SMITH (AUS)-Runs and Hundreds
Steven Peter Devereux Smith made his Test debut for Australia in 2010 and since then, has scored 6151 runs in 62 Tests at an average of 63.41. Smith has scored 23 centuries and 24 half-centuries with a highest score of 239.
Inarguably rated as the best Test batsman in current times, Smith has been wonderful against the best teams, both away and at home. Smith played some memorable innings in India, England and recently in Australia against England during the recent Ashes series.
Smith has been a prolific scorer for Australia and more often than not the backbone of Australian batting. If Smith, who is 28-years-old, continues to score runs with this proficiency, Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 15,921 runs might not be far away from the reach of the New South Wales batsman.
ALASTAIR COOK (ENG) - Runs and Hundreds
Former England Captain Alastair Cook is just 33–years old and has played 152 Tests and scored 12005 runs with an average of 46.35 with 32 centuries and 55 fifties in a career that started against India in 2006, at Nagpur.
Cook, who took over from Andrew Strauss as captain of England in 2011, led England with great integrity until India trounced them 4-0 in a five Tests series in 2016, bringing an end to his captaincy tenure.
Cook, who last played an ODI for England in 2014, has become a Tests specialist for England and has constantly notched up centuries and runs at a terrific rate. He recently scored 244* against Australia in Melbourne in 2017 Ashes series.
If Cook manages to sustain his rate of scoring runs and centuries for the next 3-4 years, Sachin Tendulkar’s records for both most runs and most centuries will be under huge threat.
Cook is the only serious contender to break Sachin’s records in Tests and it will be interesting to see whether the above-mentioned contenders manage to catch up to either Cook or Tendulkar in coming years.