Rohit Gurunath Sharma, India’s limited-overs vice captain has been making headlines since he has been nominated for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2020. On May 30, 2020, BCCI, Board of Control for Cricket in India announced nominations for prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and Arjuna Award. Wherein Ishant Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and women’s team star Deepti Sharma have been nominated for Arjuna Award, Rohit Sharma’s name has been proposed for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Rtana Award. The announcement of the nominations has given way to a new debate wherein former cricketers have come out picking sides.
VOYAGE TO WONDOROUS 2020
It’s not only 2020 which has brought joyous news to the cricketer, he had a splendid 2019 where he became the first player in the history of the game to score five ODI centuries in a single World Cup edition. Sharma scored 648 runs in 9 matches. He could have broken the record of Master- Blaster himself of making most runs in a single World Cup campaign, if had not fallen short of 25 runs.
Since the beginning of the career, Rohit Sharma’s story has been so which has inspired many to dream big. His sixes have accelerated the heartbeats of millions of fans. The cricketer who did not even get to bat in his international debut, managed to become a topic of discussion because of his talent. He continued to struggle and finally, the stars favoured him and he helped India win a crucial match against South Africa in the inaugural T20 World Cup wherein he scored a splendid half century and won his first Man of the Match title in an international match.
But even such a stunning performance could not make his place permanent in the Indian cricket team. The cricketer spent another 5 years visiting the field occasionally. He could not even make a place in the ICC World Cup 2011. Until 2012, he had scored only 2000 runs and had only 2 centuries to his name. The profession which sees many promising careers getting lost into oblivion, every year, gave fairly enough chances to this cricketer to prove his mettle. Sharma also hung on to hope and courage and did not let any opportunity, big or small, pass by.
And the day came when all his efforts paid off. Captain Cool, MS Dhoni, put hid faith in Rohit Sharma in 2013 to open at the Champions Trophy. He had seen the fierceness of Sharma’s skills and knew that a little honing would give India a batsman that would be remembered for many years to come. The opener that India had been missing for years, was visible to Dhoni in the player who had been in and out of the field for his entire career till then. Dhoni’s trust did wonders for Rohit Sharma and ehe established himself as an opener.
The player waiting for his day seized this opportunity and did not settle to play safely. Like a storm, he played havoc on the field and made his presence not only felt but shine. Sharma and Dhwan’s pairing is one of the legendary opening partnerships in India.
The player proved to be unstoppable. Playing solid as an opener was not enough for the star player anymore. He spread his magic on the T20 field too. He is one of the most successful captains of IPL and has 2 IPL titles to his name. The struggling cricketer, pining to make a place in the team went on to become the first player in the history of cricket to have scored 3 double centuries, breaking records of legends such as Shane Watson.
DO WE HAVE ONE MORE MASTER-BLASTER?
Over the years, Indian Cricket team has seen some fabulous opening batsmen. But the place that Sachin Tendulkar holds in not only Indian but World Cricket is unarguably next to God. Though he started his career as a middle-order batsman. Tendulkar smashed 82 runs in just 49 balls in his first match as an opener. And since then spent his career staying at the top, accumulating 15,310 runs in the 50 over format.
Sharma started his career as an opener in ODI cricket in 2011 but could not be trusted with the position consistently. Until 2013, he was being juggled from one position to the other. But the promotion given to Sharma by then skipper MS Dhoni, made him a permanent in the top batting order. Since then the hitman has scored 7148 runs at an average of 58.11.
If you analyse the statistics, you will see the scale tripping towards Sharma but we have to remember that both the players played in different eras. Tendulkar has managed to perform at the same level for many years whereas Sharma’s layers, as a batsman, are still to be unfolded.
COUNTERING THE CONTEMPORAY
Comparing two contemporary cricketers certainly gives a high to cricket fans and puts the players on the pedestal of greatness. Consistent captain, Rohit Sharma is not alien to this concept and had been compared time and again to many of his contemporaries but being compared to Chase Master, Virat Kohli is something which has given rise to many controversies for both the players.
Rohit Sharma has accumulated 1459 runs in 27 matches he played in the ICC ODI tournaments at a phenomenal average of 60.79 with a strike rate of 91.07. On the other hand, Virat Kohli has scored 1559 runs at an average of 55.67. We need to remember here that he has played 12 more matches than Rohit.
The difference of these 100 runs was nullified by Sharma when he scored five centuries, setting a record for the highest number of runs scored by a batsman in any of the world cups. Also, his hundreds came against strong bowling line ups such as South Africa, England, and Pakistan which makes him as worthy as our beloved chase master.