Rohit is already among the greatest batsmen of all time in ODIs. 7799 runs in 199 matches (193 innings) at an average of 48.14 and strike rate of 88.61, including 22 hundreds and 39 fifties are simply jaw dropping numbers and if you look closely, compare more than favourably with some of the best players in history.
HIGHEST AVERAGE FOR AN OPENER IN ODI HISTORY
Amongst all the 87 batsmen who have scored a minimum of 3000 runs in ODI cricket and average at least 35, Rohit’s average places him at Number 8.
His average and strike rate product place him at Number 8 on this list too only after Kohli, AB, Buttler, Dhoni, Amla, Root and Dhawan– higher than the likes of Richards, Tendulkar, Hayden and Ponting amongst other batting legends.
Rohit is a six-hitter! He has hit 215 sixes in 193 ODI innings. Only Afridi, Gayle, Jayasuriya and Dhoni have hit more maximums in ODI cricket. But Rohit’s frequency of hitting a six (1.11 sixes in every innings) is the highest in the history of the format (amongst the 150 batsmen who have scored 3000 runs in ODI cricket).
His numbers as an opener are even more staggering. 5832 runs in 114 innings at an average of 58.32 and strike rate of 92.60 including 20 hundreds.
Rohit has the highest average for an opener in the history of ODI cricket (min. 2000 runs). He is followed by Amla (50.42), Tendulkar (48.29), Lara (46.08) and Dilshan (46.04). That there is a difference of almost 8 runs per dismissal between Rohit and the second-best, Amla - highlights how dominant Rohit has been opening the innings for India.
If we consider the product of average and strike rate (and divide it by 100), it is again Rohit who comes out at the top. There is a difference of almost 9 between him and the second-best, Amla on this count too– this shows two things – not only has Rohit scored big runs but also scored them at a very high rate.
His frequency of scoring a hundred (every 5.7 innings) is also the best-ever amongst these 67 openers.
Much like Tendulkar, Rohit batted in the middle-order in the initial part of his ODI career. From his debut in June, 2007 till the end of 2012, Rohit had scored just 1978 runs in 81 innings at an average of 30.43 and strike rate of 77.93. He had managed to register just 2 hundreds and 12 fifties in this time-frame.
Then came the transformation. On the 23rd of January, 2013, Rohit, opening the innings scored 83 in 93 balls against England in the 4th ODI in Mohali.
He became a permanent opener and has never looked back.
ROHIT – THE OPENER
Rohit has opened in 111 out of 112 innings since then. He has amassed 5803 runs at an average of 59.82 and strike rate of 93.01. He has registered 20 hundreds (including three double hundreds) and 27 fifties during this period – this is a stunning record.
Overall (including the one inning where Rohit did not open in this period), only Virat Kohli has scored more runs and hundreds than Rohit in this time period. Rohit is amongst the four batsmen who average above 60 in this period, behind Kohli, AB and Ross Taylor.
Amongst the 18 openers who have scored a minimum of 1500 runs since 23 January, 2013, Rohit has the maximum average of 59.82. There is a difference of 713 runs between him and the second-highest scoring opener in this period – Dhawan. He has scored 3 hundreds more than Amla – second-highest with 17.
Rohit has been very crucial to India’s success in the last six years as his winning average (average when India has won) of 71.91 suggests. It is the highest winning average amongst all openers in this period. 15 of his 20 hundreds have also come when India has won – again the maximum for an opener in a winning cause.
India has won 39 of the 53 matches when Rohit has scored 40 or more opening the innings in an ODI in this time-frame.
Rohit has averaged above 50 in all calendar years since 2013 – i.e. in six consecutive years – such has been his consistency.
He is the only batsman to register three double hundreds in ODI cricket – all post 2013. No other batsman has more than 1. This is a phenomenal achievement given the fact that only 8 double hundreds have been scored in ODI cricket history.
Overall, during his career, Rohit has scored a ton against all major ODI teams and has an exceptional record not only at home but also in Australia and England – showcasing his prowess with the bat, both against pace and spin.
In Australia against the hosts, Rohit has scored 990 runs in just 19 innings at an average of 58.23 and strike rate of 90.99. This includes 4 hundreds. He has the highest average for a visiting batsman against Australia in their own backyard surpassing names like Richards (56.02), Lloyd (50.31) and even Kohli (44.92). Just for perspective and to highlight how difficult an opposition Australia have been at home, Lara averaged 36.69 and Tendulkar 30.83 against them in Australia.
His numbers as an opener in Australia against them are even more staggering – 798 runs in 10 innings at an average of 88.66.
What also stands out about Rohit is his big-match temperament. He has a knack of scoring big and performing in big matches – knockout matches of tournaments and series deciders. In 18 such matches, Rohit has aggregated 974 runs at an average of 60.875 and strike rate of 95.3 – clearly suggesting that Rohit saves his best for the grand stage and delivers under pressure.
DOMINATION IN LAST THREE YEARS
Rohit has been in incredible form in ODI cricket since 2016. He has scored 3232 runs in 56 innings as an opener at an average of 68.76 and strike rate of 97.46. 14 of his 22 career hundreds have come in this time-frame.
Such domination has seldom been witnessed from an opener in ODI cricket.
Tendulkar scored at an average of 55.85 and strike rate of 97.57 between 1998 and 1999. He registered 12 hundreds in this period. He also scored 2786 runs in 56 innings at an average of 59.27 and rate of 88.64 including 9 tons between 2001 and 2003.
More recently, Amla at his peak (between February, 2010 and September, 2012) scored 2368 runs in 39 innings at an average of 65.77 and strike rate of 95.48. He registered 9 hundreds in this time-frame.
Rohit, clearly, has been in a league of his own.
He is currently at the peak of his batting prowess. He is the best opener in the world in both ODI and T20I cricket and will be crucial to India’s chances in the upcoming World Cup in England.
First Published: January 30, 2019, 4:39 PM IST