Bannister, Chataway and Brasher; the four-minute-mile was something of a team achievement; without his pace makers the good doctor might never have breasted the tape in time. Had he been just a fraction slower a foreigner would have taken the plaudits that Bannister now laps up; there might have been no honours from a grateful Empire, and no celebration fifty years on at Oxford’s slightly less famous Iffley Road athletics track. Perhaps there would have been no subsequent British obsession with middle distance running – an obsession which spawned the great Cram, Coe and Ovett. Bannister, as he would certainly be the first to acknowledge, owes his pacemakers a great deal. In fact, so much individual success is actually the result of teamwork; the result of minions sacrificing themselves for the good of their superiors. Lance Armstrong, that modern day hero, is literally pulled up those steep Alpine climbs by his team mates most of whom will have to drop out because of the sheer exhaustion of breaking the still air in front of their leader; Paula Radcliffe’s amazing London marathon records have been aided by (male) pacemakers and Michael Schumacher’s victories have so often come at the expense of his team-mates. Of course these three are among the most talented sportsmen and women of this, or indeed any other, generation. It is this talent that assures them of their greatness. Even the greatest, though, have to rely on others from time to time. Individual records are hardly ever so simple a feat as we are afterwards led to believe by the historians eager to dramatise events and glorify names – if it wasn’t you crossing the line then you hardly count, it seems. At a time when everyone (us included) is quite rightly singing the praises of Bannister, Cherwell asks that everyone takes a minute or four to remember those without whom it quite literally wouldn’t have been possible – Chataway, Brasher and all your like: we salute you.ARCHIVE: 2nd week TT 2004
There came a time for every scribe when writing about Sachin Tendulkar became increasingly difficult. The Master Blaster, by the twilight of his career, had achieved everything humanly possible and then achieved some more. (IPL Full Coverage|Points Table) Tendulkar’s journey over a quarter of a century inspired some great copies but there were phases when we all drew a blank – what do you write about a man, who has turned up and scored with such gay abandon for 24 years? (Also read – Virat Kohli on record-shattering fourth hundred: It was unbelievable!) Less than three years after Tendulkar retired from international cricket, most cricket writers are now drawing a blank again! What do you write about Virat Kohli that has not been written already?Kohli has taken limited-overs batting to new heights. Thousands of runs, 25 hundreds, the sheer consistency – it has been unreal. And T20 cricket? They weren’t supposed to be so consistent in that hit and miss format? Kohli, admittedly, was never a big-hitter, the big, towering sixes were not for him. (Virat Kohli all time leading run-scorer after record fourth ton)KOHLI IS UNREAL! But Kohli has defied logic and laughed at the face of reason to hammer 1490 T20 runs from 26 matches this year. Of those 625, came in T20 Internationals, which included games against Australia and Pakistan. As many as 865 have come in the course of 13 IPL games, a record.No other batsman has scored more in any single edition. No other batsman has scored four hundreds in a single T20 tournament. No other batsman has yet scored 4000 runs in the IPL. Virat Kohli is like no other batsman. (Record-breaking Kohli century helps RCB hammer Kings XI in rain-marred clash)advertisementThis is where the constant comparisons with Tendulkar need to stop. India, as a country, is obessed with comparisons. Tendulkar was compared to Gavaskar and now Kohli must be compared with Tendulkar.Sunil Gavaskar shaped his era as did Sachin Tendulkar. It is now time for Virat Kohli to do just that. The 27-year-old is himself embarrassed with these parallels. Don’t compare me with Sachin, I want to be myself, he pleaded recently.STOP THE COMPARISONS It is time for India to heed those words. Tendulkar was a giant – a hundred international hundreds, 200 Test matches, the most international runs, most one-day internationals and the first man to hit an ODI double hundred.Kohli, by the looks of it, will break Tendulkar’s records in ODIs, unless something goes wrong drastically. He will set his own records in T20 cricket that would be out of reach for several other men.But there can be no comparisons. There are several reasons. Tendulkar faced a different breed of bowlers at a time when pitches were not this flat, and grounds were massive because T20 had not necessitated the shortening of boundaries.The age of Tendulkar had taken the world by storm. The era of Kohli has the world gasping for breath. Sit back and enjoy the ride for Virat Kohli is superhuman and now well beyond comparison.