Sachin Tendulkar is perhaps the greatest thing that happened to cricket. Ponting, Lara, Kallis or Ganguly are equally remembered for their delightful batting. However, since the retirement of these greats, cricket has evolved drastically.
With the introduction of T20 cricket, the range of skills has been vastly different. In the contemporary game, we have batsmen like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, AB De Villiers and Joe Root, who with their scintillating displays have carved a niche for themselves.
These are the four factors which make them the modern-day ODI greats:
Since 2013, Virat Kohli has scored 5702 runs while Rohit Sharma has scored 4616 runs in ODI cricket. Rohit, however has played fewer innings compared to Virat, 19 to be precise and thus there is very little to choose between the two. The next best is AB De Villiers with 4409 runs.
#2 Runs in away conditions
Scoring runs in home conditions is generally considered easy, but what really makes a batsmen great is his ability to score runs in all conditions. Here again, Virat, Rohit, AB De Villiers, Amla and Joe Root have been exceptional. David Warner although has scored a lot of runs over the last few years, however most of them have come in home conditions.The same is with Kane Williamson with very low averages in Asia, Australia and West Indies.
#3 Scoring Runs in ICC tournaments
There is something special about Indian left-right opening combination. There was Sachin-Sourav, then there was Sehwag-Gambhir and now obviously there is Rohit-Dhawan. Since 2013, there have been 3 major ICC events - a World Cup and couple of Champions Trophies. In all of these 3 tournaments, Dhawan and Rohit have been exceptional, particularly Dhawan. In a batting line-up that boasts of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli you need to perform extra-special to come to limelight. The below stats will show that Dhawan and ICC tournaments are a match made in heaven.
However in the knockout stages of the ICC tournaments, Rohit Sharma has been a class apart.
#4 Batting long and deep
If scoring daddy hundreds is an art, Rohit Sharma is the Picasso of it. Bowling in limited overs cricket can be difficult. More so if you are bowling to a "set" Rohit Sharma or Virat Kohli or AB De Villiers. Once these batsmen get their eye in, they make sure that they don't give away a good start. Hashim Amla and David Warner are also among the best when it comes to scoring big hundreds. Rohit is in a league of his own, with 3 double hundreds in ODI.
After analyzing different stats, it's evident why Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are the greatest ODI batsmen since Tendulkar. AB De Villiers has been excellent in all conditions. Joe Root has an edge over Dhawan because of his ability to score runs in different countries. Kane Williamson has not been as good at scoring in different countries. He could have had an edge over others, had he converted a few of those fifties into centuries which has not been the case. David Warner has been only good in home conditions or batting-friendly conditions.
Thus Virat, Rohit, De Villiers and Joe Root form the fab four of One-Day International cricket. By the time they retire, they will have already broken major records and created their own.