Bangalore: Many years ago, as part of the nonsense verse that would come to define his fighting style, Muhammad Ali said: "The hands can't hit what the eyes can't see." There are other things that one can't do when the eyes don't see. Comparing players across eras is one of them.
The other day, someone on a social-networking site suggested that he'd put Jacques Kallis, interviewed recently on Wisden India, ahead of even Sir Garfield Sobers in the allrounders' pantheon. Had he been around as long as Richie Benaud, his view would have had some credence. But he was so young that he couldn't possibly have seen even the 1980s greats in their prime.
He's hardly alone though. It's a mistake we all make frequently. What we witness in the here and now is often the 'greatest ever' or 'unparalleled'. But without a frame of reference as broad as Benaud's or Tony Cozier's, we're really in no position to make such judgments.