There have been chargers like Tendulkar, Dean Jones, Nathan Astle and walkers like Hayden, Gary Kirsten, Aravinda, and yet each one offers something thrillingly different.
Also, there were few thrilling sighs in 90s cricket that Tendulkar gliding down the track to seamers. The mechanics of the shot, and how it differs from that of Kohli and Rohit.
It’s 2000, Nairobi in Kenya, and Sachin Tendulkar is waiting for Glenn McGrath to release the ball. He then charges out in his characteristic way: the front leg stepping across towards off, and using it as a springboard to propel himself further forward. Now one more decision awaits.
If the ball is shortish, he has to flat-bat it up and over in the arc from long-on to long-off. If it’s still full-length, then try to go for the vertical-bat wallop to the straight boundary. Always in the V. It’s a predetermined shot but Tendulkar tries to delay his charge as much as possible to camouflage his charge from the bowler.
That nuance is missing from the charge made by Rohit Sharma or Virat Kohli. Rohit rushes out, often in hope, not really waiting for the bowler to release the ball, and unsurprisingly finds himself in trouble. Sometimes, he heaves to the onside, his shape pear-shaped. Sometimes the charge is delayed too much, like Kohli would do against the Mumbai Indians’s left-handed Jason Behrendorff, and taking too short a stride and finding himself in panic zone, especially with the left-armer’s angle across him. He ended up swiping across, and unsurprisingly lost shape and lost his wicket.
Kohli doesn’t like to rush down the track to the spinners. The reason for the stat that played out during the last Test series against Australia – where he was dismissed stumped for the first time – is because of that reluctance. It isn’t due to superior skill.