Opener Rohit Sharma has scored highest individual runs in 2019 and every year since 2013. Is he the man behind Kohli’s success as skipper? The answer is a clear and convincing YES.
Army generals are only as good as their men on ground and it is true of every arena. Thus when Virat Kohli gets all the kudos for winning the tournaments and series, one cannot overlook the performances of his teammates, especially the openers and in particular Rohit Sharma, who goes out first and takes on the opposition’s wrath. He is the man behind Kohli’s success as skipper.
It would have been very different history of the little master blaster Sachin Tendulkar, had he been lucky to have one or two players with the consistency Rohit Sharma has. Although the master is one of his kind and revered all over the globe for his contribution to the game, one cannot but sadly remember his stints as skipper which always tended to vitiate his personal performances.
Tendulkar’s record as captain twice
Tendulkar had two stints as captain of the Indian cricket team. As we know, he was not very successful. When Tendulkar took over as captain in 1996, it was with huge hopes and expectations. However, by 1997 the team was performing poorly. Azharuddin famolusly said: “He won’t win! It’s not in the small one’s destiny!”
And when Tendulkar, succeeding Azharuddin as captain for his second term, led India on a tour of Australia, his team was beaten 0–3 by the Aussies. Tendulkar, however, won the player of the series award as well as player of the match in one of the games. After another Test series defeat, this time by a 0–2 margin at home against South Africa, Tendulkar resigned.
In Test matches as captain, Tendulkar led in 25 matches and won only 4, losing 9 and drawing 12.
Under his leadership, India’s ODI performance was not scintillating either. He led in 73 ODI matches and won only 23. His success rate as captain was Test matches 16% and ODIs 31.5%.
But for Virat Kohli, lady luck is there in abundance. And Rohit taking the crease as opener would instil a lot of confidence and bravado in the skipper. (Remember the world cup 2019 exit of Indian team when Rohit fell very early in the game?).
And now Virat Captaincy Stats
Virat Kohli as captain has played 53 Test matches and won 33, losing 10 and drawing 10. Against Sachin’s track record of 16% success in Test matches, Kohli stands very tall.
In ODIs also, Virat’s success is gloriously telling. Since 2013, he has led the team in 80 matches and won 58 of them, delivering a success rate of 75.32% against Sachin’s 31.5%.
And Rohit Sharma, leading in 10 matches has won 8 of them delivering even better than Kohli, 80% success. Rohit’s contribution as a team player is astoundingly awe-inspiring. For 7 years in a row, he has outscored his own skipper (and all other team members) for the highest individual score. In 2019 alone he has scored 1490 runs well ahead of Virat Kohli’s 1377. Another player in the reckoning is Windies Shai Hope who has amassed 1345 in this year.
Rohit, who had been chasing the target to outscore his skipper, found the 3 match ODI series very productive. His 159-run knock in Visakhaptanam did the trick. Although in the third game he only scored 63 to Kohli’s 85, he had already cemented his position at the top.
Rohit has scored 1,490 runs from 28 ODI matches this year, while Kohli finished with 1,377 runs from 26 matches.Windies’ batter Shai Hope has the third-highest ODI runs in 2019 as he finished with 1,345 runs from 28 matches.
India’s 2-1 victory against the West Indies came riding on the back of brilliant performances from Rohit Shram, who I believe is the man behind Kohli’s success as skipper. Of course Kohli himself and KL Rahul, chipped in to win the series, the consistency of Rohit has been the hallmark of India’s story of success both at home and abroad.
“Extremely grateful for the year I’ve had. A World Cup victory would have been nice, but as a team, throughout the year, whether red ball or white ball cricket, we came together really well. Personally I’ve enjoyed batting, but there’s no way I’m stopping. There’s an exciting year coming up,” Rohit said after the match, visibly still haunted by his early fall in that World Cup game where India could not hold fort.
Rohit Sharma is the man behind Kohli’s success as skipper. He has also ended the year 2019 with the highest individual score for India in ODIs for a record 7th consecutive year. Rohit’s 159 is the highest score by an Indian batsman in 2019.
Highest individual scores for India in ODI since 2013
2013: Rohit Sharma (209)
2014: Rohit Sharma (264)
2015: Rohit Sharma (150)
2016: Rohit Sharma (171*)
2017: Rohit Sharma (208*)
2018: Rohit Sharma (162)
2019: Rohit Sharma (159)
Most Runs in a Calendar Year by an Opener
There is another feather in Rohit’s cap. In 2019, Rohit also broke Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya’s 22-year-long record of scoring the most international runs as an opener in a calendar year.
Thus, it will not be wrong to say, if Kohli has succeeded as skipper, Rohit Sharma has played a tremendous part in his success story.