Batting great Sachin Tendulkar has said he had seen the spark in Virat Kohli long ago and that he is amazed by the way the India captain has developed as a player.
Tendulkar did not stop short of calling Kohli one of the greatest of all times but maintained he doesn't encourage the idea of comparing players from the same era, let alone the ones from different generations.
The batting great's comments come at a time when Kohli has drawn comparisons to Tendulkar with his machine-like consistency across all formats of the game. The 29-year-old Delhi batsman has been breaking his childhood icon's records at will.
Kohli overtook Tendulkar by a margin of 54 innings to become the fastest man to reach 10,000 runs in ODI cricket during the ongoing five-match series against the West Indies. From just 216 matches, Kohli has 38 hundreds, only 11 short of the Mumbai great's world record tally.
"I think first of all, like how Virat has said and I have been saying for 24 years that I have played, I have never believed in comparison. Each generation, if you take from the time cricket was played from day one to now, the change has been constant," Tendulkar said on Thursday.
"Coming to Virat's development as a player, I think he has developed immensely. And I always saw that spark in him. I always felt that he is going to be one of the leading players in the world, not just of this generation, but one of the leading players of all time," Tendulkar said on Thursday.
"And then it is again about opinions. But if one has to go into comparisons, then I don't want to get into that. There were different bowlers who played in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and possibly in my time and what they are playing today. So I wouldn't want to get into that," he said.
"Then each generation played differently, there were different rules, there were different restrictions, there were different surfaces, there were different balls also at times.
"So a lot of things, boundary lines if you see earlier, I have played where the ball had to hit the concrete in Australia, things have changed over the years. I personally don't feel one should be comparing different generations.
"But within that generation also I personally believe there should not be any comparison, because every individual whatever he or she does need to be respected and judge by itself, it doesn't have to be always judged by comparing someone and I don't believe in that (comparisons)."
Despite the difference in eras, it's hard not to notice the glaring similarities in the way Kohli and Tendulkar have gone about their business. With his unquenchable thirst for runs, the India captain is taking fans down the memory lane to a period when the man from Mumbai ended up scoring aplenty whenever he walked out to bat.
Tendulkar's longevity is something that Kohli may not emulate, considering the workload in modern-day cricket. Only recently, the Delhi batsman hinted he may not play for long but his childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma rubbished speculations of an early retirement by saying his ward would continue playing for at least 10 more years.