Rohit Sharma inching towards ODI greatness with his phenomenal numbers

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'Hitman' showing no signs of stopping. Image source -BCCI/Twitter.

The first ODI between India and the West Indies on Sunday at Guwahati threw up all kinds of records as the hosts chased down a target of 323 with almost eight overs to spare.

India skipper Virat Kohli drew all the accolades for smashing his 36th ODI ton as he continued extraordinary 2018 with the bat in all formats. While Kohli dominated the headlines with his seamless 107-ball 140, his deputy skipper Rohit Sharma notched up his 20th ODI century as he remained unbeaten on a 117-ball 152.

Kohli’s remarkable consistency continues to astound one and all with the Indian superstar now on the verge of breaking the legendary Sachin Tendulkar’s record of becoming the fastest batsman to 10,000 ODI runs.

With Kohli’s unending brilliance, it is sometimes easy to overlook Rohit’s sensational form as an opener.

The deputy India skipper became the fourth fastest batsman in ODI history to notch up 20 centuries with only Hashim Amla, Kohli and AB de Villiers getting to the milestone in fewer innings.

His unbeaten 152 was also the sixth instance he had crossed the 150-run mark in ODI cricket and is now the highest by any batsman in history, bettering Tendulkar and David Warner who have five such scores to their names.

Eighteen of Rohit’s ODI tons have come at the opening position. His ODI average as an opener now stands at a whopping 57.69, which is the highest by an opener in history to have played a minimum of 30 innings.

After 104 innings as an opener, Rohit has now scored 5,250 runs at a strike-rate of over 92. Opening was not a position that Rohit took to easily with the right-hander taking 18 innings to notch up his first hundred as opener.

It is true that that ODI cricket of late has become more batsman friendly with pitches now generally conducive for high scores. Still, it is hard to overlook Rohit’s achievements when no other opener in the game has come close to matching his numbers in the same era.

He is, without a doubt, the second-best batsman in the format after Kohli and his numbers prove the same. He might not have been able to tie down a spot in the Test team all these years but come white-ball cricket, Rohit is a different beast altogether.

Another remarkable aspect about his ODI batting is the big scores he registers once he gets in. Out of the 20 tons he has hit in the format, the Mumbai-born batsman has been dismissed below 125 on only three occasions.

It is no wonder then that he holds the record for the most (three) double-tons in the format. Once the right-hander is in the zone, he is hard to shake off.

There have been plenty of openers who have entertained over the last three decades or so with Tendulkar, Sanath Jayasuriya, Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist all making the role their own over the course of their careers.

Those batsmen are rightly mentioned as ODI greats and while Rohit might not be talked about in the same breath just yet, there is no doubt that by the time he calls time on his career, he will find his place alongside those legends should be keep up this phenomenal consistency.

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