World Cup 2019 May 24, 2019

'Wouldn't have been scoring like this if I didn't take risks' - Rohit backs his ODI method

ESPNcricinfo staff

Rohit Sharma pulls into the leg side © Getty Images

Rohit Sharma's batting at the top of the order in ODIs is a study in contrast to the methods in vogue at the moment, with batsmen preferring to attack hard early. Rohit is not averse to taking his time at the start and settling in, before exploding with greater force as the innings progresses.

India's limited-overs vice-captain is the only man with multiple double-centuries in ODI cricket, having hit three including a world-record 264, and he explained that he had found a process that worked well for him.

"What works for me is what works for me. I'm going to stick to my plans. In those double hundreds that I have scored, you've got to see how many balls I had consumed by the time I reached my first 10 runs, the first 50 runs, the first 75-80 runs. It'll rarely be five balls 10 runs, or 25 balls 50 runs," Rohit told Times of India. "You know what I'm saying - but I've still got there. I've worked with certain trends and those trends have worked for me, in return. There will be days when I will get off to a flyer.

"Obviously when you're chasing scores of 350 and 370, you'll have to change gears as required. There's not much time that one can take before he can get going. I get that. But you asked me about how I like to go about - to that, I'll say, follow what suits you, go by the conditions, the opponents, the kind of attack that's coming at you. So, let's say much of that is an instinctive factor."

The numbers bear out Rohit's success with his method.

Rohit Sharma's scoring rates during an ODI innings
Overs 0 to 10 Overs 10.1 to 35 Overs 35.1 to 50
 Rohit's strike rate  74.66  101.22  153.56

*All numbers from April 1, 2015 till May 24, 2019

Rohit Sharma's scoring rates relative to other batsmen
Rohit's strike-rate
 Overs 0 to 10 [>1000 balls (only openers)]  11th (out of 12)
 Overs 10.1 to 35 [>500 balls (Batsmen 1-4)]  8th ( out of 61)
 Overs 35.1 to 50 [>200 balls (Batsmen 1-4)]  2nd (out of 91)

Rohit's acceleration during the course of an innings is evident. Among openers in the first ten overs, he is the second slowest, ahead of only Tamim Iqbal. From overs 10.1 to 35, and expanding the list to include batsmen in the top four, he is eighth among 61 batsmen. And in the last 15 overs, only AB de Villiers scores quicker than Rohit among 91 batsmen.

Rohit's six-hitting ability also plays a part in his acceleration. Since the 2015 World Cup, he has hit 130 sixes for India, considerably more than the second-placed Virat Kohli's 55.

"Listening to people, day in, day out, it's something that I have learnt to live with," Rohit said. "You step out of the house and the first guy you say hello to, hellos back: 'Cover drive thoda aisa khel na. Straight drive sudhaar apna (Play the cover drive like this. Improve your straight drive).' Kya karoon? (What do I do?). Listen and move on. One guy, I don't even know him, gave me a 15-minute lecture on the pull shot. Don't hit the ball in the air (laughs).

"What those people don't understand is they know and recognise me as a cricketer because of those very shots. I wouldn't have been scoring the kind of runs I did if I didn't take those risks. For instance, just this week, someone shared an interesting stat with me. Post the 2015 World Cup, I've hit 130 sixes. The next best from India is 55. The margin of 75, you see, is the margin of risk I've taken. Simple."

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