India, a country where cricket is a religion and cricketers are Gods.
One good performance and you reach the heights of fame whereas a bad performance and you fall from that height of fame.
One thing obvious in this scenario is the debate and discussion about who's the greatest Indian player to have played the game.
Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Kapil Dev, Rahul Dravid, Ms Dhoni, Anil Kumble, Virat Kohli are the few names which come to our when we talk about the greatest Indian player.
Sourav Ganguly, the man who taught team India to believe that they can win on foreign soil.
Kapil Dev, the man who revolutionised Indian cricket by winning the first ever world cup for India.
Rahul Dravid, the man who stood like a wall when the others got suppressed.
MS Dhoni, the man behind the two world cups.
Anil Kumble, the witty leg spinner who have tricked all the batsmen of the world.
Sachin Tendulkar, the man who holds almost all the batting records in this world.
And then we have Virat Kohli, the man who continues to surprise everyone by his extraordinary love for centuries and chasing qualities.
If the same question would have been asked one and a half years earlier, the obvious choice would have been Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar simply because of his records and his career which lasted over two decades
But the rise of a determinate, energetic and very talented Virat Kohli have ignited the fire again, the fire that asks just one question "Is Virat Kohli the greatest player to have graced the game?".
He has all what it takes to break all the records set by Sachin Tendulkar himself and he has been leading his side excellently in the longest format of the game, keeping in mind the fact that he have been exceptional across all the formats, scoring runs at ease.
What's more, he has already edged out all the achievements what Sachin had achieved at the same number of matches as Virat Kohli.
So, can it be said that Virat Kohli is the greatest Indian cricketer?
The answer to this question lies in a small instance, the stats may vary but the feelings were exactly the same ...
"Dad, you have arrived at the right time, Kohli is playing on 98 and India requires 155 more runs to win" - said my 12 year old son.
"And a top inswinger from malinga results in Kohli missing out on a well deserved century"- said Ravi Shastri.
My son sat there in disbelief.
I went to him and said -
"Don't worry son, we are going to win this one, there's a lot of batsman to come".
And India won that match comfortably.
"Dad, you have arrived at the right time, Sachin is batting on 98 and India needs 155 more to win"-
I said to my father.
"Sachin has edged it to the keeper missing out on a well deserved century".
I sat there in disbelief.
My dad came to me and said -
"It's over son, close the TV".
And India went on to lose that match.
No doubt Virat Kohli is an inspiration to the whole country, the records are on his side and his achievements make him the best player of the current generation but
Sachin Tendulkar was a hope alongwith an inspiration, a man who carried the burden of expectations without disappointing anyone for over two decades.
Virat Kohli might break his records in the near future but that memories would remain intact, sometimes memories and emotions matter more than the records.
Cricket is a game of records and the one who is the record holder emerges out as the best but exceptions are present everywhere and no need to explain that the God of Cricket was, is and will always remain an exception, the greatest player to have ever graced the game.
Moreover, Cricket is a gentleman's man. I didn't mean to say that Kohli isn't a gentleman but Sachin Tendulkar has succeeded in keeping himself away from any controversy in a career that lasted over twenty years and that's an achievement in itself.
To score runs in bulk is one thing and to gain respect of the opposition is another and the one who manages to do both the tasks emerges out to be the greatest player.
And the very fact that someone can do it consistently for over two decades along with shouldering a million dreams makes Sachin Tendulkar the best player India has ever produced.