Sachin was at his majestic best in 1998, scoring a whopping 1431 runs; and Kohli is already the top ODI run-getter in 2013.
"If I'm batting behind Virat Kohli in the line-up these days, I would not hurry into putting my pads on as the next man in; I can take my time, because it's Virat who has gone in. That's the kind of confidence and reassurance he gives the team these days."
These words from the legendary Sunil Gavaskar will make any batsman's chest bloat with proud, but the best part about Kohli's purple patch is that he's making it count with feet firming on ground, reminding of Sachin Tendulkar's dream run in the ODIs in 1998.
Sachin was at his majestic best in 1998, scoring a whopping 1431 runs at an average of 84, which included the famous 'Desert Storm' knock against Australia in Sharjah. Fifteens years later, when Sachin has put his feet up, Kohli is doing something similar for Team India.
Captaining India Under-19 to World Cup win in 2008 was the turning point in Kohli's career and the Test century in Australia raised his self-belief to a different level. Six years from his his under-19 days, in 2013, Kohli is enjoying a Tendulkaresque run.
The first ODI of the current series against West Indies saw Kohli equal Vivian Richards' world record of reaching the 5000 ODI runs in 114 innings. He followed that up by reaching top of the list of ODI run-getters in 2013 with 1218 runs, which include four hundreds and seven fifties. Kohli could have added a fifth ton to that but fell for 99 in Vizag, which saw him overtake team-mate Rohit Sharma (1155) to top of the list.
Nonetheless, Kohli's average remains a staggering 58 with a strike rate of above 98, which reminds of how Sachin tormented the Aussies in 1998. Incidentally, Kohli too proved Australia's nemesis last month, when he helped India chase two 300-plus scores with a hundred in each innings, including the fastest ODI century by an Indian in 50 balls.
It's not just the number of runs Kohli has scored but the manner in which he gets them that has made him the fans' favourite. The Delhi man relishes a challenge, which shows in his 11 ODI centuries that have come while chasing, only behind Tendulkar's 14. That's ample evidence of a sound head on responsible shoulders.
Here's a look at some of the records Kohli has set in 2013, making it a watershed year in the career of India's most promising batsman since the exit of 'Fab Four'.
1. His 99 against West Indies in Vizag came in a losing cause, but it took him to top of the list of ODI run-getters in 2013 with 1218 runs in 30 matches at an average of 58, including four centuries and seven half-centuries.
2. The 86 runs he scored in the first ODI against West Indies in Kochi helped him equal West Indies legend Vivian Richards's record of quickest to 5000 ODI runs. Both have done it in 114 innings.
3. Kohli is the only player in the history of ODIs to score five or more consecutive 50-plus scores on two occasions. The first time he did it was last year, and this year his bat has continued to hammer oppositions into submission.
4. After his whirlwind century against Australia in Nagpur last month, Kohli is now only behind Sachin Tendulkar in number of hundreds scored in successful run-chases. While Sachin has done it on 14 occasions, Kohli has achieved the feat 11 times.
5. The Delhi batsman is the quickest man to reach 17 ODI tons, doing it in 112 innings.
6. Kohli has completed a hat-trick off 1000 ODI runs in a calendar year. That makes him just the fourth batsman in ODI history to do so. Interestingly, all four are Indians: Sourav Ganguly (1997-2000), Sachin Tendulkar (1996-98), MS Dhoni (2007-09) and Virat Kohli (2011-13).
7. In a fortnight last month, Kohli's two knocks were listed among top three in the list of fastest ODI hundred by an Indian. Kohli's 61-ball ton against Australia in Nagpur was India's third-fastest in ODIs. That after he scored a hundred in 50 balls in the second ODI of that series, beating Virender Sehwag's record of a ton in 60 balls.