Virat Kohli sauntering towards Sachin Tendulkar's records that once looked staggering and seemingly unsurpassable has amazed the icon, who Thursday called the Indian captain one of the greatest but said he "never believed" in comparisons.
Recently, Kohli surpassed Tendulkar to become the fastest player to score 10,000 One Day International runs. He is also inching towards Tendulkar's record for highest number of ODI hundreds (49), having notched his 38th ton in Pune in the third game against West Indies.
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"Coming to Virat's development as a player, I think he has developed immensely. And I always saw that spark in him. I always felt that he is going to be one of the leading players in the world, not just of this generation, but one of the leading players of all time," Tendulkar told reporters.
"And then it is again about opinions. But if one has to go into comparisons, then I don't want to get into that. There were different bowlers who played in 60s, 70s, 80s, and possibly in my time and what they are playing today. So, I wouldn't want to get into that," he said.
The legendary player was speaking after the first India camp of the Tendulkar Middlesex Global Academy began at the D Y Patil Stadium. His childhood friend and former India batsman Vinod Kambli also mentored the kids.
Tendulkar categorically stressed that he did not believe in comparisons.
"I think first of all, like how Virat has said and I have been saying for 24 years that I have played. I have never believed in comparison. Each generation if you take from the time cricket was played from day one to now, the change has been constant.
"Then each generation played differently, there were different rules, there were different restrictions, there were different surfaces, there were different balls also at times. So, lot of things, boundary lines if you see earlier, I have played where the ball had to hit the concrete in Australia, things have changed over the years. I personally don't feel one should be comparing different generations," he said.
"But within that generation also I personally believe there should not be any comparison, because every individual whatever he or she does needs to be respected and judge by itself, it doesn't have to be always judged by comparing someone and I don't believe in that (comparisons)," Tendulkar noted.
Tendulkar praised teenage prodigy Prithvi Shaw, terming the right-handed batsman a fast-leaner.
Shaw made a dream debut to his Test career by slamming a hundred in the first Test against West Indies in Rajkot.
"I think I can talk about Prithvi. I have never given my opinion on selection whether who should be picked and who should be dropped. And I would like to maintain it that way, because that is like influencing the selectors to do something. But just if I have to look at Prithvi as a player, he's progressed tremendously.
"I feel with the age he is only going to get better and better. So Prithvi is someone who will continue to perform well. Yes, Australian trip is gonna be a good exposure to him. And whatever I have seen, he is fast-learner. So I see him ready for that.
"I think he (Shaw) has performed well in all formats. So he has performed well. So if you are not suited for all formats you can't perform well," said Tendulkar when asked whether he would like to see Shaw in ODIs.