Is Rohit Sharma's All-Out Aggression Behind India's ICC World Cup Success?
11:59 07.11.2023 (Updated: 15:45 07.11.2023)
© AP Photo / Ajit SolankiIndia's captain Rohit Sharma plays a shot during the third one day international cricket match between Australia and India in Rajkot, India, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023.
© AP Photo / Ajit Solanki
Team India is the only undefeated side in the 2023 Cricket World Cup, with many pundits crediting captain Rohit Sharma for the hosts' success in the tournament. Sputnik India analyzes if that is the case.
On Virat Kohli's birthday on Sunday, Rohit Sharma came out all guns blazing on the Eden Gardens pitch, smoking sixes and boundaries at will as he raced to 40 off only 23 balls in a flash.
By the time India's premier opening batter got out on the same score, the South African bowlers were still reeling under the onslaught he unleashed as the home team raced to 62/1 in less than six overs.
Such was Rohit's assault on the Proteas pacers that the second-placed team in the quadrennial competition seemed like a club side at that stage.
Notably, the 36-year-old cricketer has followed this template, going ballistic at the top, taking the opposition bowlers head-on, to give India a quickfire start in almost all the matches of the current edition of the Cricket World Cup.
Pundits in Awe of Rohit's Intent
According to many pundits of the sport, it is Rohit Sharma's selfless and aggressive brand of cricket that is paying dividends to the Indian cricket team, given that his power hitting upfront eases the pressure from the batters that follow him in the batting order.
Even the Indian team management has backed the Nagpur-born star's aggressive intent at the start of the innings.
"It's absolutely Rohit's idea. He's taking the initiative. If there's something on the wicket, he's looking to go for his shots. It is working out really well for the team. He's one guy who's leading with his action," India batting coach Vikram Rathour said during the weekend.
On the other hand, 2011 Cricket World Cup winner Gautam Gambhir reckoned that Rohit's quick runs at the top are aiding the Indians to dominate proceedings on the field.
He pointed out that Rohit's batting style, wherein he's not thinking about losing his wicket for the team's cause, is helping Team India against quality bowling sides like South Africa, Pakistan, and New Zealand.
"Leader – the thing he wants from the team, he does it himself. If you expect positive batting from your teammates, you have to do it yourself. This act – leading from the front – you have to do it yourself. No kind of PR or marketing agency can do it for you," Gambhir told the host broadcasters of the World Cup.
© AP Photo / Anjum NaveedPakistan's captain Babar Azam, left, and India's captain Rohit Sharma smile as they wait for the toss ahead of the T20 cricket match of Asia Cup between India and Pakistan, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022.
Pakistan's captain Babar Azam, left, and India's captain Rohit Sharma smile as they wait for the toss ahead of the T20 cricket match of Asia Cup between India and Pakistan, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022.
© AP Photo / Anjum Naveed
Indian Skipper's Batting Numbers in the 2023 World Cup
For the unversed, Rohit Sharma is the fourth leading run-scorer in the World Cup with 442 runs in eight knocks. Only three players - South Africa's Quinton de Kock (550), Kohli (543), and Rachin Ravindra (523) are ahead of him at this stage of the prestigious event.
However, what stands out between Rohit and the other three is his strike rate and six-hitting prowess.
The India skipper has the best strike rate among the top ten run-scorers in the 2023 Cricket World Cup.
In fact, Rohit (122.77) is the only batter whose strike rate is above 120 in the tournament.
Also, the Mumbai resident has struck the most sixes (22) in the World Cup, signifying how his ultra-aggressive approach is paying off for Team India.
Risks Helping Team India
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar believes that Rohit would continue in the same vein, trying to terrorize rival bowlers as his focus was on winning the World Cup for the country.
"With him, he is a risk taker. And therefore sometimes, what happens is, in the 60s, 70s - look at the number of times - where he got the team off to a flying start with half-centuries. But he wants to carry on in the same way because it benefits the team," Gavaskar said.