Tendulkar vs Lara

V.V. KRISHNAN

Here's the final part of letters (sourced through email) in response to the Cover Story of the Oct. 28 issue that featured a debate as to who of the two was the greatest batsman after Sir Don Bradman.

Cricketer par excellence

Sir, — Nobody can be compared with Don Bradman who played without helmets on fast, and also some sticky wickets then and averaged 99.9 in Tests. Sachin Tendulkar, no less a genius, is more human and therefore more fallible than Bradman. But he is certainly better than Brian Lara, simply because he has reinvented himself so successfully as a cricketer par excellence, in the widest sense of the term. Ted Corbett, too, as he so open-mindedly concedes, may revise his opinion soon!

S. P. Gupta Comparison absurd

Sir, — The debate over who is better, Lara or Sachin, has been going on for quite some time now. If we compare the two cricketing giants on the basis of statistics, one will overtake the other. And it will be the reverse if we go by the situations in which each of them contributed to his side's victories. Even a staunch supporter of Tendulkar will acknowledge the fact that he is not the highest individual run scorer in an innings for even India, while Lara has a world record score of 400. On the other hand, Lara has not scored as many centuries and runs in Tests as Tendulkar.

In a sport like tennis we can make such comparisons, but not in cricket which is a team game.

At this point of time, when one is retired and the other is still playing, it is unfair to compare their skills. Both Tendulkar and Lara are superior players in their own way.

V. Pandy Both are geniuses

Sir, — The debate, ‘Who is the best — Lara or Tendulkar?', will go on forever. I will not get into records and statistics as there are lots of reference lying around, but is it really possible to analyse or even compare the greatness of the two?

However, we have to consider the fact that Tendulkar has played the game for so long and with such passion than any other player I can think of. He has displayed his skills in all formats of the game, so he is a versatile player. On the contrary, Lara was specifically more successful in Tests than in ODIs. And I don't remember Lara playing much of Twenty-20 cricket either.

The recently published All-time XI features only Tendulkar among the veterans. But then, I would again say that both players can't be compared; they are both geniuses in their own way.

Akil Eshwar Don is the best

Sir, — I for one have no doubt that Sir Don Bradman is the best batsman of all time, given his achievements. The fact that the masters of yesteryear didn't have the opportunity to play ODIs cannot be held against them. They didn't wear helmets or sophisticated protective gear, and they played with ordinary bats on uncovered pitches and against some of the fastest bowlers in the history of the game.

Tendulkar, with his achievements and records, is second to Bradman. I also feel that George Headley and Gary Sobers are equal to Tendulkar given the quality of their batsmanship. Headley didn't play too many Tests but averaged 60.89. In first-class cricket he had an average of 69.86. Sobers had a Test average of 57.79, and he was also the greatest all-rounder ever.

Gerald. A A demigod

Sir, — I have no doubt that Tendulkar is the greatest batsman after Sir Don Bradman. I don't deny the facts written by Ted Corbett, but what he has done is to merely express his fascination for Lara's game.

Whenever a comparison is made between players, their statistics should also come into the debate. Corbett has failed to take notice of Tendulkar's sterling performances, both at home and abroad year after year. One cannot point out a better batsman than Tendulkar in either Tests or ODIs. At a time when most cricketers of his era have retired, Tendulkar, 37, still enthrals the crowd with his magical batting. Who can forget his magnificent century at Chepauk against England? Or the double hundred in the Gwalior ODI against South Africa?

A country that is mad about cricket and its stars would like to see more and more of its demigod, Tendulkar.

Gopika G. Nair