Those who know me know that I am a Sachin Tendulkar fan and a very big one. There is no doubt in my mind that Tendulkar is the greatest batsmen ever. But there are a few people who think Sir Donald Bradman was the greatest of all time. I would like to disagree. Here is a small comparison. Please tell me what you think of it.
Pressure: Sachin plays every innings under huge pressure. 1 billion people expect him to perform in each and every match, be it against the Aussies or Bangladesh. To perform consistently for 20 years is no joke!!! Bradman never had such pressure during his whole career apart from maybe the Bodyline series and in his last innings against England. Just look what pressure did to him. His average, which was usually over 100 in most series, came down to just 52 in Bodyline and he couldn't score 4 runs in his last innings with the whole world watching.
Number of Matches: Bradman played 52 tests in 20 years whereas Sachin has played 159 tests in the same period. Back then the players easily got 8-10 days of gap in between 2 tests. In one year only 4-5 tests were played and to add to it there were NO ODIs. Nowadays there are so many matches and Sachin has played all of them since his debut in 1989. It is only recently that he has started to take breaks from ODI series but he still plays all the test matches for India.
Position of Batting: Bradman usually came at no.3 or no.4 and mostly when the score were 176/1 or 217/2 No pressure!! Sachin usually came at no.4 and mostly when India had lost both the openers and the scoreboard looked like 20/2!!! In ODIs Sachin opens and has the pressure of laying the foundation and setting the trend for the innings.
Opposition: Bradman played mostly against England and he got used to that bowling. So he scored over 5000 runs against them with an average of around 92. He played one series against each of the minnows of that time (India, South Africa and West Indies) and scored heavily against them. He never played in Indian sub-continent against Indian spinners. Moreover, excluding Larwood, Bradman never played any quality bowlers. Whereas, Sachin played against the likes of Ambrose-Walsh-Bishop, Wasim-Waqar-Akhtar, Warne-McGrath-Lee-Gilespie, Donald-Pollock-Steyn and Vaas-Murali-Mendis. His overseas record is as good as his home record. Also the standard of fielding is far better than it was in that time!
Style of Cricket: In the times Bradman played, cricket was not limited to 5 days and so there was no pressure on teams to enforce a result. So a player could play for as long as he wanted and didn’t want to get out. We all know if Sachin decides this no one can get him out, remember the 241* against Australia in 2004, in which he curbed off side stroke play because the ball was swinging. If Tendulkar had played in the era of Bradman, he would easily have an average above 100.