India, Jan. 9 -- Cricket is played in the middle and discussed animatedly across offices, parks, teashops and homes. At most times, the conversation is about comparing players from different eras: Do Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar stand shoulder to shoulder or is one taller than the other? Where does Virat Kohli sit among India's all time greats? Who among our treasured spinners is the most precious?

Cricket itself frowns upon such comparisons. Purists sneer at these because cricketers are unique products of circumstances and standalone situations. It's therefore incorrect to square off players who played years apart.

This argument holds because cricket is fundamentally dynamic, impacted by changing laws, conditions, pitch behaviou...