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The ODI Phenomenon Called Rohit Sharma

Indian opener Rohit Sharma played his 200th One Day International against New Zealand in Hamilton on January 31, 2019.

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Last updated: 04.02.2019
The ODI Phenomenon Called Rohit Sharma | Sports Social Blog

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Indian opener Rohit Sharma played his 200th One Day International against New Zealand in Hamilton on January 31, 2019. He scored 7806 runs at an average of 47.88 with 22 hundred and 39 half-centuries in his ODI career till now. What these numbers don’t reveal is that this right-handed batsman has clearly two phases in his limited-overs career. These two chapters of Rohit’s ODI career are so distinctively different that it is unfair to certify him based on his overall statistics.


Since his ODI debut in 2007 to the beginning of Champions Trophy in 2013, Rohit Sharma scored 1978 runs as a middle-order batsman at an average of 30.43. The talented batter had only two hundreds and 12 fifties with a highest score of 114 till his 86th matches. Then it was 2013 Champions Trophy and India was searching for a replacement of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag. The then Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni played a masterstroke and moved Rohit Sharma up to the batting order. He made Rohit an opener alongside Shikhar Dhawan. There began the process of reincarnation for Rohit Sharma as an ODI legend and India found their consistent, dependable opening bat in the limited overs.


Champions Trophy was the biggest turning point of Rohit Sharma’s career. Since then he played 115 ODIs and scored 5839 runs with an average of 57.81. He scored 20 hundred and 27 half centuries in the last seven years with the highest individual score of 264. Rohit’s batting average has been more than 50 in ODIs since 2013 in each calendar year whereas only in 2011 he scored at an average of 40 plus. His strike rate of more than 90 clearly reveals what a phenomenal discovery he has been as an opener. Rohit Sharma with passing time grew to become one of the best ODI bats India has ever produced. He consistently broke a number of records and kept on creating new ones. He may not have a memorable One Day International number 200 but his long journey has been a very satisfying one; especially the path he crossed in the last six years.


He currently has 22 ODI hundreds, 3 of those are double hundreds which is itself a record. In the history One Day International cricket ten double centuries have been scored till date. Rohit himself scored three of those. Out of rest seven, two scored by legendary Aussie Belinda Clarke (229*) and the young Kiwi Amelia Kerr (232*). In men’s cricket other five double centurions in ODI are Sachin (200*), Virender Sehwag (219), Chris Gayle (215), Martin Guptill (237*) and Fakhar Zaman (210*).


Rohit became the third double century hitter in Men’s cricket when he scored a wonderful 209 against Australia in November 2013 just after a few months of being promoted to the opener’s position. In the relatively smaller Chinnaswamy stadium, Rohit went crazy and hit 16 over boundaries along with a dozen boundaries to finish with a 158-ball 209.  India put up a target of 383 with the second individual highest contribution by MS Dhoni (62). None of the Australian bowlers was spared even after fighting hard. James Faulkner tried to save his team with 116 but Australia lost the match by 57 runs.


Virat Kohli was run out for a duck. This is an interesting trivia as exactly one year and eleven days later Rohit got his next ODI century. This time Kohli was again run out and Rohit took his tally to 264, the all-time individual highest ODI score. The crown of Eden Gardens was mesmerized by the heroics of Rohit Sharma. He smashed 33 boundaries and nine sixes all around the ground. India finished with their fifth 400 plus total in ODI. The hapless Sri Lankans could not put up a fight and their total of 251 was even 13 runs lesser than Rohit’s individual score in that match.


The stories are similar for Rohit’s most of the centuries because he has a tendency to score massive hundreds in limited overs games. There are four more scores between 150 to 200. In total, Rohit played seven 150 plus run innings which is another world record. His 22 ODI tons put him tied with Sourav Ganguly in the 10th spot on the list of players with highest ODIs. However, Rohit achieved this by playing only 194 innings whereas Ganguly did this in 300 ODI innings. His average in the 22 matches he scored 100s is an astonishing 145 with a strike rate of 173.68. Rohit needs another century in the 5th One-day against New Zealand to continue his record of scoring at least one century in the series, a record he is maintaining for the last 10 ODI series or tournaments.


He has been a competent captain in ODI. Even his batting record as a captain is highly impressive. Rohit led the team from the front in the nine matches he captained by scoring 541 runs in 9 matches at an average of 90.16 with two centuries and two half-centuries. One of his double hundreds also came during his captaincy. So very rightly in his 200th ODI, he was given the opportunity to captain the side. Unfortunately, it ended with a loss. But this is only his second loss as an ODI captain. Rohit Sharma certainly can be termed as a good limited overs skipper. This claim is well supported by his captaincy record in Twenty 20 Internationals and IPL.


May it be test cricket or limited overs cricket any strong team would boast of a solid opening pair. West Indies in the 80s had Greenidge and Haynes and Australia in their golden period had Hayden and Gilchrist. In the coming World Cup, Virat Kohli will be India’s trump card but a lot will depend on Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan to provide India a good start.


Video: Rohit Sharma's all double century

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