Virat Kohli is the biggest name in modern-day cricket. The current Indian skipper is one of the best batsmen to have ever played the game. In the last few years, he has set standards for everyone else and further raised them with almost every innings.
The right-handed batsman from Delhi has already scored 68 international hundreds across all formats. His statistics are unreal and amazingly, only getting better every time he steps onto the field.
But what if there was no Virat Kohli? Who would've been the best batsman? What would've been the bar for greatness?
In the discussions regarding the best batsman in the world, other names that pop up are Kane Williamson, Joe Root and Steven Smith. But there is one name that hardly gets into the discussion, even though it more than deserves to - Rohit Sharma.
The Indian opener is currently at the second spot (behind Kohli) in the ODI rankings for batsmen. He was the highest run-getter in the recently concluded ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
Rohit has had his share of struggles in the longest format of the game. But when it comes to limited overs cricket, there are only a few players that can match his skills.
The right-handed batsman from Mumbai has scored over 8600 runs in 211 innings at an average of over 48. With 27 centuries to his name, Rohit is tied at the fifth spot with Hashim Amla on the list of most ODI centuries. The vice-captain also holds the record for the highest score in an ODI innings (264 vs Sri Lanka).
In T20Is Rohit has scored four centuries, more than anyone else. He is also the highest run-getter in T20 Internationals.
These are overall numbers; his recent performances have been even more impressive. Rohit's career can be broken into two parts - as a middle-order batsman and as an opener. And there is a huge contrast in the numbers of the two phases.
Rohit started opening in 2013, and hasn't looked back since. The numbers for themselves; out of his 27 centuries, 25 have been while opening.
One major thing that we associate with Rohit is his ability to score big hundreds. We often see a batsman getting to three figures and then just throwing his wicket away. That, however, is not the case with the Mumbai lad.
After getting to the milestone, Rohit usually gets into a completely different zone and starts punishing the bowlers. This is evident from the fact that he has scored three double centuries when no other batsman has even managed two.
When he scored his third double, only four other players had reached 200 in an ODI innings.
The other thing we associate with him is inconsistency. It is true that Rohit is not as reliable as Kohli, as he has been inconsistent throughout his career. But his recent records suggest he has made some improvements in this area as well.
Since 2015, he has scored 21 centuries in ODIs, which is second to only Kohli who has 22.
One more impressive thing about Rohit is his captaincy. He has hardly got chances to lead the national side, but when he has, he has done really well. Rohit has led the Indian team to eight wins in 10 ODIs and 12 out of 15 in T20s. That also includes winning the Nidahas Trophy and the Asia Cup.
But what sets him apart as a captain is winning four IPL trophies with Mumbai Indians. If not for Kohli, Rohit would've been the ideal choice for captaincy in the limited-overs format.
At the moment, the only knock against Rohit is his inability to perform well in whites. He'll be itching to improve his numbers in red-ball cricket, but even if he can't, he'll go down as one of the best players ever in limited over formats.
Yes, Kohli is at a completely different level as of now. But Rohit has also proved his worth, and deserves a spot in the discussion of the best. He has come a long way from being a young talented and inconsistent batsman who had the habit of throwing it away after getting in.
Rohit is now all set to be among the elites of the game; he has helped the team win many games with his terrific performances. If there was no Kohli, Rohit would've been India's best batsman.
The man deserves more credit for all the wonderful moments he has given his fans. Rohit may not be the best, but is clearly better than what he's credited for.
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