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Sachin Tendulkar amassed 15,921 Test runs, averaging 53.78, before he retired at 40.
But barring long-term illness or injury, Virat Kohli is on track with 5754 runs at 54.28.
The first of the indicators are the world rankings, where 900 points is rated ‘Bradmanesque’ – The Don still holding the record high of 961 points.
Tendulkar never reached that dizzy height, with 898 his ceiling, but Kohli and Steve Smith have both well passed the 900 mark.
Smith hasn’t played since March, when he copped a 12-month suspension for ball tampering, but even to this day he’s on 929 points as world number two.
Since Smith’s suspension, Kohli has been on a spree, accumulating 1257 Test runs at 83.8, with six tons and three half-centuries.
This included his 149 and 51 at Edgbaston against England, in the home country’s 1000th Test, out-scoring Jonny Bairstow’s 70 and 28, and Joe Root’s 80 and 14.
But England won by 31 runs in an absorbing match.
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Kohli’s rocketed from 903 ranking points, and second to Smith, to stand alone on 934 points as the undisputed world number one.
Time will tell how much the year-long holiday will damage Smith’s career stats, but Kohi is in full flight.
To give a more accurate indication of how well he’s chasing compatriot Tendulkar, let’s make it a level playing field by comparing the 29-year-old’s career 114 visits to the crease, to Tendulkar’s first 114 digs.
Runs – Tendulkar 5734, Kohli 5754
Not outs – Tendulkar 12, Kohli 8
Average – Tendulkar 56.21, Kohli 54.28
Test centuries – Tendulkar 22, Kohli 22
Highest score – Tendulkar 248*, Kohli 243
Half-centuries – Tendulkar 22, Kohli 17
Ducks – Tendulkar 8, Kohli 6
Nothing in it.
Longevity and consistency are mighty tough asks, yet Tendulkar proved it can be done.
It’s all in front of Kohli, but his prospects are bright.
Tendulkar’s other major benchmark is he’s the only batsman to score 100 international centuries, with 51 in Tests and 49 in ODIs. But Kohli’s on track, with 22 and 35.
Whatever happens, both Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli have given cricket-lovers around the world many hours of quality entertainment, and opposition bowlers as many hours of grief.