“Rohit’s stroke-making and stamina, coupled with his power and elegant laziness are in stark contrast to Kohli’s ability to switch from defence to aggression in no time, but when they get together they hand India some memorable wins from the stiffest situations”
One is a master technician. The other a galvanized beast looking forward to startle the opponents with his sheer class. One bat with ease and the other remains defined by passion and energy. One is “talented” whilst the other is already a legend. Together the duo are stars. Batting superstars.
Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. The joke doing the circles is that whenever the latter is run-out by the former, Rohit sticks around to score a double hundred. While that can be deemed true to a certain extent – there have been seven run-outs between the two and Rohit has scored four big hundreds, including two double tons in a match after he has run-out Kohli – the fact remains that the two top-order batsmen have been magnificent for India both individually and as a pair.
As sole players, their records hardly needs a second glance to prove that they have indeed have been special to India. In 181 ODIs, the Mumbai player has scored runs at an average of 45.47, but it was his performances after the Champions Trophy in 2013 that started his meteoric rise. In 93 games since then, his average has remained an impressive 57.60, with 16 of his 18 hundreds coming after he was asked to open in the tournament in England five years ago. His average has not dropped below 50 in any year since then, with Rohit registering an astonishing average of 71.83 in 21 games last year.
Kohli, on the other hand, has taken over the title of a “run-machine” with ease. He scores runs while chasing and he scores them in every condition. He balances his knock by starting off slowly to get an eye in and then flourishes when the death overs come into play. He is just 14 hundreds short of equaling Sachin Tendulkar’s 49 hundreds in the format, and seeing the pace with which he overhauls three-figure digits, expecting Kohli to get to the magical 50 soon is anything but an hyperbole.
Both have their own unique techniques, yet both are traditional – they play orthodox shots with jaw-dropping ease, and have stood tall for India on many momentous occasions. In 63 innings, the duo has put on 3685 runs with an average of 62.45, including 14 100+ partnerships and nine half-century stands. In wins, this average leapfrogs to 79.15, which is even better than what the likes of Sourav Ganguly-Tendulkar and Adam Gilchrist-Matthew Hayden averaged in wins for their respective teams.
While chasing, Kohli and Rohit average a stunning 87.83 in wins – which only proves how crucial the two have been for Team India’s success in the recent past. As they helped India notch up yet another comfortable win in the first ODI against England courtesy a 167-run partnership for the second wicket, it only displayed the clear understanding and the maturity that they have for the other.
Kohli started off with a classical cover drive but silenced his willow as Rohit raced away with three exemplary fours. However, as is the modus operandi when the two get going, the boundaries stalled to singles and twos, with the good length deliveries being treated with respect and only the poor deliveries being punished. It is only after the team has been pushed into a comfortable position that the onslaught begins.
Both batsmen are aware that the team rides on them with the middle-order being a tad bit iffy. But more importantly, the will to get going and score big runs and take the team over the line is deeply ingrained and it is this exhilaration that sets them apart.
Both are tremendous players of spin, with Kohli averaging 98 against the chinaman deliveries. Rohit ups his ante playing the sweep shot, averaging 79 to it and having a run-rate of 15.4. For the second wicket, the two bat with a run-rate of 5.8 and the result of this is that not only are the runs scored in quick succession, but the wins that are accorded are comprehensive ones, which further pushes the rival side into despair.
In the first ODI, India reached 200 in only 28.2 overs, which was the fastest 200 against England since 2000. Rohit’s stroke-making and stamina, coupled with his power and elegant laziness are in stark contrast to Kohli’s ability to switch from defence to aggression in no time, but when they get together they hand India some memorable wins from the stiffest situations.