NEW DELHI: Days after former Australian captain Ricky Ponting made headlines by calling West Indies great Brian Lara better than Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi jumped into the debate by comparing the two legends once again. In fact Afridi went a step ahead and said that he feels Lara is cut above both Tendulkar and Ponting.
Well both Ponting and Afridi got the much expected eyeballs for expressing their personal views on public domain. But the bigger question is how significant is this comparison between the two batting giants, that too at a time when one has already bid adieu to the game and one is on the verge of retirement.
In an era when players like Alastair Cook, Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and other youngsters are making and breaking records and new technologies and popular league tournaments are redefining the game of cricket, doesn’t this Lara vs Tendulkar debate appear out of place?
Surprisingly the comparison came from Ponting and Afridi at a time when their own national teams are struggling badly on the international front. After being drubbed by India, Australia have already lost the Ashes. Pakistan, on the other hand, lost both Test and ODI series in South Africa and failed to impress in the Champions Trophy.
While Australia rank fourth in Tests behind South Africa, India and England, Pakistan are placed fifth. In ODIs, Pakistan are ranked at dismal sixth. Barring Misbah-ul-Haq no other Pakistani batsman features in top ten ODI rankings, where Australia have zero presence. Almost similar is the case in players’ rankings in Tests.
So instead of sparking meaningless debates and getting into useless comparisons, why aren’t Afridi and Ponting concentrating on nurturing their respective national teams?
It’s sometimes insulting for the two legends to be compared on the basis of statistics. Going by the numbers, Tendulkar stands far ahead of Lara. Be it total runs, total centuries, half-centuries on man of the match trophies in any format of the game. It’s only the numbers of triple centuries that Lara had scored in Test career that places him above Tendulkar. While Tendulkar has none, Lara has two, and ofcourse he also has incredible score of an unbeaten 400 to his name. But Tendulkar is the first batsman to hit a double century in ODIs.
But these are things of past. It’s time to celebrate new achievements and groom other stars in making. Rather than deciding who is better between Lara and Tendulkar, it’s time to see who becomes the new Lara and the new Tendulkar.