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Rohit Sharma and the art of pacing an ODI innings

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How many more innings till Rohit's fourth double-ton? (0:48)

Rohit Sharma has taken 64 innings to get to three double-hundreds, and with his ODI batting template, it may not be long before he gets a fourth (0:48)

Rohit Sharma has perfected his template to rack up huge scores in ODIs: start slowly, bide your time, build up momentum through the middle overs, and then go absolutely berserk in the last ten. That sounds like a simple enough template, but no one executes it like Rohit does. He has the advantage of having strokeplayers around him, which allows him to ease into his innings, but he also has the special ability to score boundaries almost at will in the last few overs. That skill ensures he more than makes up for the dots in the first part of his innings.

The Mohali ODI was only one example - the latest of many - of just how gifted he is in being able to turn it up several gears over an extended period of time in ODIs. After 126 balls of his innings, Rohit had managed only 116; in his last 27 balls, he scored a scarcely believable 92 runs - including 11 sixes and three fours - to finish on 208 off 153. While that onslaught was an extreme example of what he is capable of, the cumulative stats for Rohit's 16 hundreds also highlight this ability: in those 16 innings, his strike rate till he reaches his century is a relatively modest 94 - it is only 80 till the time he reaches 50 - but thereafter it reaches stratospheric heights.

*Runs after 100 excludes the scoring shot with which the century was brought up

When batting first, the contrast before and after the century is even starker: a strike rate of 92.5 before his hundred goes up to almost 205 after. And the strike rate till he gets to 50 is only 77.

*Runs after 100 excludes the scoring shot with which the century was brought up

That post-century strike rate is even more commendable because of the consistency and the long periods over which he is able to maintain this. After reaching his hundred, Rohit, on average, adds around 48 more runs per innings, at a strike rate of nearly 185. In terms of runs per innings, Rohit is well clear of all the batsmen who have scored five ODI hundreds since 2001. The list is obviously dominated by openers, as they get an opportunity to bat longer than the others, but even among openers, Rohit's ability to hit big hundreds is incredible. The next best in terms of runs per innings after reaching a century is 35, by David Warner. It helps also that Rohit has played a lot of his matches in India, where conditions are generally good for quick scoring, but even so, the rate and consistency with which he has been to make these big scores is incredible.

Overall, Rohit has scored 767 more runs after going past the three-figure mark, in the 16 innings when he has scored ODI hundreds. (This excludes the scoring shot with which he brought up his century.) Since May 2001, no batsman has scored as many post-century runs; the next highest is Sachin Tendulkar's 621 runs in 21 hundreds since that cut-off date. In terms of difference between the pre-hundred and post-hundred strike rate, Rohit is in second place, among batsmen with ten or more hundreds since May 2001. Only Marlon Samuels (difference 108.11) has a higher difference than Rohit's 92.15.

*Runs after 100 excludes the scoring shot with which the century was brought up

And in terms of runs per innings, in all the innings when a batsman has gone past 100, Rohit sits right on top of the all-time list (with a cut-off of five hundreds). He scores 148.75 runs per century, given that his 16 hundreds have fetched 2380 runs. The graph below has the top players in this aspect, and in a list dominated by openers, it is interesting that MS Dhoni finds a place too, with a mean of 129.7.

Since Rohit began opening the batting regularly in ODIs, his graph has taken off spectacularly. His batting average since the start of the 2013 Champions Trophy is 58.81, compared to 30.82 before that; among batsmen with 2000-plus ODI runs during this period, only three have higher averages.

However, while his overall average is impressive enough, his stats when India bat first are quite astounding over the last four and a half years: he averages a staggering 72.62 in 35 innings, with nine hundreds and eight fifties, which means he has gone past 50 every other innings when India have batted first during this period. In chases, the average is still impressive - 48.28 - but not quite as spectacular. No batsman who has scored 200-plus runs batting first has a higher average in these four and a half years.


Rohit's unbeaten 208 in Mohali also takes his career average when batting first past 50 for the first time in his career. It is now 50.16; before the Mohali innings, it was 46.75. He is now one of only five batsmen to have a 50-plus average, with a cut-off of 50 innings - Hashim Amla, Dhoni, Michael Bevan and AB de Villiers are the others in this select group. That is quite an achievement for a batsman who struggled when batting first through the first half of his career.

With inputs from Shiva Jayaraman