We think every great of a particular generation is untouchable, but new talent comes and a next gen may prove to be even better. Here’s looking at who all might break Sachin's many records…
(Spoiler: Kohli features prominently!)
Most Tests: 200
Challenger: Virat Kohli
In an era where many people say Test cricket is dying and fans will want to watch lesser and lesser cricket one wondered if Mount 200 could ever be touched. That's especially since Sachin played for a good 24 years.
However India has started playing much more Tests off late and averages 12-13 in the 2010s. That means that if someone like Virat Kohli, 29, decided to play till the age of 40, he could touch 200, since he already has 63.
The same logic applies to Steve Smith who is 28 and has played 59 Tests at the age of 28. Smith and Kohli are favourites because they have proved themselves as all-time greats and could easily have a really long Test careers.
Nowadays cricketers tend to prolong their careers thanks to the latest fitness standards and techniques. Kohli is among the fittest people in international cricket and MS Dhoni at 36 has proved himself to be as fit as any youngster.
Dark horse: Alastair Cook
The former England captain, 33, has already played 150 Tests. England also plays 12-13 Tests a year (they played 17 Tests in 2016!) so Cook needed to play just 10 a year for 5 years from 2018 to go past Sachin.
However England currently has been crushed by the Aussies (they trail 0-3) and Cook is one of the potential scapegoats to be axed if the selection board should come down heavily.
Most Test runs: 15,921
Challenger: Steve Smith
After 59 Tests, Sachin had 4265 runs, while Smith has 5796 and averages an astonishing 62.3, second only to Donald Bradman and way ahead of Sachin's final 54.2. At that rate, Smith would need just 156 Tests to catch up with Sachin. Of course it doesn't work that way. His form might dip. Or it may really go up. But you've got to say that Smith at least has a chance to go past that and is in the zone.
After 63 Tests, Sachin had 4753 runs, while our very own Virat Kohli has 5268. So don’t count out Kohli too! Cook was a dark horse here again and has 11,712 runs in 150 Tests. So if Cook doesn't get axed after the Ashes and plays for 4-5 more years, he could do it too.
Most Test centuries: 51
In just 59 Tests, Smith has 22 centuries. At that astonishing rate, Smith would just require 140 Tests to get 52 centuries. Even Kohli in 63 Tests has 20 centuries. It would take him 164 Tests to overhaul that record. Both these players might slow down or speed up, but again both are in the zone to go past Sachin.
Most greats score centuries on debut or their first series. That way Kohli drew a blank and didn't have one in his first 7 matches. He has 20 centuries in his last 56 Tests.
Kohli is peaking such that in his last 16 Tests, he has four double centuries and a 150!
Most ODIs: 463
This is the only record that could stand even though two Sri Lankans came close: Mahela Jayawardene (448) and Sanath Jayasuriya (445). In the current players the leaders are MS Dhoni (312), AB de Villiers (225), Upul Tharanga (218) and Kohli (202).
Dhoni is 36, ABD will turn 34 soon and Tharanga will be turning 33. That makes Kohli the only safe bet right now.
Most ODI runs: 18,426
Kohli has 9030 runs in 202 ODIs in 9 years. So simply double it and it’s 18,060 in 404 ODIs in 18 years, by which time he would be 38. So basically if he gets close to the amount of ODIs Sachin played (463), he will do it. If Kohli’s form continues, then there’s an outside chance that he might even have 20,000 ODI runs by the age of 40!
Interestingly South African Hashim Amla has 7381 runs in just 158 ODIs, so he would also have been on course to surpass Sachin had he not been 34 and probably doesn’t have the time.
Most ODI centuries: 49
Kohli has 32 centuries in just 202 ODIs, so at this rate he needs just 316 ODIs when he could well do 400, so he is definitely on course. Sachin scored a century every 9.4 ODIs.
Kohli scores a century every 6.3 ODIs, but he is still not the best! Amla scores a century every 6.1 ODIs (26 in 158)! Again, age is the only thing that will keep Amla behind.
Sachin's ODI average was 44.8. But batting has gone crazy in the last four years. Take a look at batting averages of players from the 2013-17 period…
ABD: 61.2. Kohli: 59.8. Babar Azam: 58.6. Jonny Bairstow: 58.3. Rohit Sharma: 57.7. Ross Taylor: 53.9. Dave Warner: 52.8. Kane Williamson: 50.7. Dhoni: 50.5. Joe Root: 50.
Smith: 49.3. Faf du Plessis: 48. Martin Guptill: 46.6. Shikhar Dhawan: 46.7. Angelo Mathews: 46.7. Amla: 46.3. Quinten de Kock: 45.9.
We have entered a new age of ODI batting and no record looks safe!
Kohli could be emperor of all three realms…
In international T20s, Brendon McCullum retired with 2140 runs. Kohli is second with 1956 runs and will overtake him soon. Kohli already has the most international T20 fifties: 18. He is second on the IPL list of run getters, 4418, behind Suresh Raina’s 4540.
So… First Sunil Gavaskar held the Test records.
Then Sachin held the Test and ODI records.
Finally Kohli could hold the Test, ODI and T20 records by the time he's done and be emperor of all three realms!