Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir rated Sachin Tendulkar over Virat Kohli considering the former's longevity and the constant changes in ODI cricket rules, which in Gambhir's opinion favoured batsmen more than bowlers.
"Sachin Tendulkar, because probably with one white ball and four fielders inside the circle, not five fielders outside, it will be Sachin Tendulkar for me. It's difficult because Virat Kohli has done phenomenally well but I think the rules have changed as well, which has helped a lot of new batters," Gambhir said while speaking on Star Sports Cricket Connect show.
Tendulkar played 463 ODIs scoring 18426 runs at 44.83, including 49 centuries. Kohli has 11867 runs from 239 ODI innings at an average of 59.33 with 43 tons already.
The rules, however, are considerably different. A current ODI inning is played with two new balls and has three Power Plays. In the first Power Play (Overs 1 to 10) only two fielders are allowed outside the 30-yard circle. In the second Power Play (overs 11 to 40), four fielders are allowed while in the remaining overs, five are allowed outside the inner circle.
Gambhir said the two new-ball rule worked in favour of batsmen as well, for reverse swing and spin were taken out of the equation.
"The new generation, with two new balls, no reverse swing, nothing for the finger spin, five fielders inside for the 50 overs, probably that makes batting much easier," said Gambhir.
"Look at how Sachin Tendulkar has played, different rules, that time 230 to 240 was a winning total. Probably, I'll go with Sachin Tendulkar if we see the longevity and flow of the one-day cricket format," he added.
Interestingly, Tendulkar himself pointed to a similar opinion recently.
Another 4000 or so ..2 new balls..wow .. sounds like a cover drive flying to the boundary in the first over of the game.. for the remaining 50 overs 💪😊..@ICC @sachin_rt https://t.co/rJOaQpg3at — Sourav Ganguly (@SGanguly99) May 12, 2020
When the International Cricket Council took to Twitter to praise the pair of Tendulkar and Ganguly, Tendulkar responded:
“This brings back wonderful memories Dadi. How many more do you think we would’ve been able to score with the restriction of 4 fielders outside the ring and 2 new balls?”
Ganguly agreed, saying they'd have added another 4000 runs to their partnership tally (8227).
"Another 4000 or so ..2 new balls..wow .. sounds like a cover drive flying to the boundary in the first over of the game.. for the remaining 50 overs"