Indian skipper Rohit Sharma has started to surge out of the gates as a result of the format change and the potential for dew, which calls for even higher totals. The manner Rohit Sharma batted helped him develop into an ODI prodigy. He would begin cautiously, position himself to bat for the full 50 overs, then erupt in the last overs. He scored three ODI double centuries with this strategy. “3 double-hundreds.” No other batter has scored even two.
The previous 2 ODI double centuries, which were scored in a two-month span, were achieved by two young Indian openers. Rohit, he was tasked with conducting interviews with Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill following the latter’s century versus New Zealand in Hyderabad via bcci.tv.
But Rohit has undoubtedly contributed to the recent triumphs of his opening partner(s).
Genesis of Rohit Sharma 2.0
In the his recent encounters, he tore up his outdated template and pushed himself considerably harder and faster. He regularly goes down the pitch, pumps the ball over the top. And has even shown a willingness to play reverse sweeps. As he did in the 2nd ODI in Raipur versus Mitchell Santner in India’s narrow victory.
With Rohit’s new strategy, his teammates are now able to settle down and focus on their respective activities. The new strategy has made Rohit more vulnerable to termination. One example is when Rohit stepped out of his crease against Blair Tickner in Hyderabad. However, the ball got caught in the surface, leading the batsman to distort his stroke to mid-on. Additionally, it has exposed him to some criticism.
Rohit had played 16 ODIs without scoring a hundred. The drought came ended with a century in final ODI against Kiwis. At one point, Rohit’s coach and ex Mumbai cricketer, Dinesh Lad, revealed his surprise at Rohit’s high-risk white-ball strategy.
Yes, he has been pursuing a high game for a while now, when he shouldn’t. According to Lad, who spoke to PTI. “I’m not sure why he’s acting that way. He seems to be playing the game too aggressively, which I believe is a mistake.”
So why exactly Rohit is engaged in this approach in ODI cricket? that’s because the ODI context has evolved. Since on flat pitches, one cannot afford to wait around and keep wickets in the powerplay. So batters must accumulate dew-proof totals batting first. Particularly in India, the host nation of the ODI World Cup later this year.
Coach Dravid on Sharma’s new approach
“When they are 19 years old, many children have diverse appearances, yet not all of those go on to fulfill their potential. Rohit has been a fantastic talent for Indian cricket but also has performed exceptionally well. I believe that what he has done over the past 15 years has genuinely changed his potential “Rahul Dravid remarked.
In a recent match versus Sri Lanka in Guwahati, Rohit’s strong determination was on display with his 67-ball 83, which helped India reach 373 for 7. Later that evening, as the ball glided onto the bat well because of the dew. Dasun Shanaka put up a valiant fight with his unbeaten 108 off 88 balls. In large part due to that strong intention at the top, India’s bowling ultimately managed to protect the total.
Rohit had been in the vanguard of India’s new strategy in the shortest format in the run-up to the 2022 T20 World Cup. He struggled with his form during that competition, and India’s attempt to execute the strategy failed in challenging Australian circumstances. But it wasn’t entirely because of lack of effort. Rohit is now applying the high-intent strategy to another format in preparation for the 2023 ODI World Cup.
Statistics on Rohit’s side
Rohit has had a powerplay scoring rate of 92.55 since the conclusion of the 2019 ODI World Cup. This places Rohit in sixth place among openers who have played at least 15 innings during that time span. However, while Jonny Bairstow (106.35) is obviously in the lead. Quinton de Kock (95.93), Jason Roy (95.89), Gill (94.88), as well as Finn Allen (93.19) aren’t that much behind him. The most recent statistics drastically vary with those from the beginning of 2013. When Rohit started to play every ODI and the end of the 2019 WC. His powerplay scoring rate at that time was 70.47.
On the eve of the 3rd ODI versus New Zealand in Indore. Rahul Dravid, India’s present head coach, who’s already followed Rohit’s career since his Under-19 days, talked highly of Rohit’s development as an ODI hitter.
“Perhaps, as you suggested, the turning point came ten years ago when he finally had the chance to open. And really, his outstanding performances in ICC tournaments—as we mentioned in 2019—have been plainly his trademarks. As has also been his capacity to produce significant runs when he gets going. Someone who has 3 double-hundreds in this format has accomplished something truly incredible.
“So, yes, he has achieved some recognition and is someone who has a solid all-around game. You cannot imagine a bowling attack you can use to challenge him. He would take you down, just like he takes spinners down if you bowl quickly. He excels against swing. And, therefore, has a tremendously strong, complete game. So, yes, he has been a great player for India and has been scoring well for us even during the most recent games. His style of play has been amazing to see. So, having Rohit play the way he does is fantastic.”
It seems that modern Rohit is just about to take-off (or he might just have in the final ODI). These are good signs for India, as they heavily rely on their captain for the upcoming ICC 2023 World Cup.