Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are currently on top of the rankings when it comes to ODIs. Both are run-scoring machines. While one decimates the bowling attack at the top, the other clinically dismantles the opposition and ensures chasing any target is a simple task. The combination of Rohit and Kohli have taken Indian cricket to new heights and currently, the duo are the best in the world when it comes to flair, destruction and class. Universally, it is acknowledged that Kohli is one of the modern greats of the game. Numbers prove it. Kohli's numbers in this decade, when one compares it to all formats, is simply marvellous. On the other hand, Rohit's career was rejuvenated when he was promoted to open the batting and he has played an integral part in ensuring that India's top order is given a supreme air of initimidation.
When it comes to numbers ever since the start of 2013 till now, when both players featured regularly for the team, Kohli tops that list. In 148 ODIs since 2013, Kohli has 7634 runs at an average of 66.38 and a strike-rate of 97. In this period, he has a staggering 33 fifties and 30 hundreds. Rohit, on the other hand, has 6708 runs in 132 ODIs at an average of close to 59 and a strike-rate of 92.29 with 30 fifties and 25 centuries. On the basis of these numbers, Kohli once again asserts his supremacy. However, a deeper look into the numbers reveals a slightly different story.
Story Begins In 2013
The cricketing world acknowledges that Kohli is a class apart when it comes to consistency, centuries and run-making ability. However, Rohit has consistently beaten Kohli in this one aspect ever since 2013. This is the highest individual score in the Indian cricket team in every calender year and so far, Rohit is leading 7-0 against Kohli. In 2013, Rohit hit his first double century when he plundered 209 against Australia in the seventh and deciding ODI in Bangalore. In that year, Rohit hit two centuries while Kohli hit four but in that period, the Indian skipper's highest score was 115*.
In 2014, Rohit rewrote the history books when he blasted a world record 264 against Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens. The score still remains the highest ever by a batsman in ODIs. Kohli, on the other hand, smashed 139* against the same opponents in Ranchi to inflict a 5-0 whitewash.
Things continued to favour Rohit in 2015. In the ODI against South Africa at Kanpur, he smashed 150 while Kohli's highest score that year was 138 against the same opponents in Chennai. In that year, Rohit outscored Kohli even when it came to scoring centuries. In 2016, Rohit blasted 171* against Australia in Perth while Kohli smashed 154* against New Zealand in Mohali. 2017 and 2018 have been golden years for Kohli in which he scored over 1000 runs and smashed six centuries in both the years. However, even here, Rohit has trumped Kohli in individual scores.
In 2017, Rohit blasted a world record third double ton in ODIs by hammering 208* against Sri Lanka in Mohali. In 2018, Kohli seemed to have the better of Rohit when he blasted 160* against South Africa in Cape Town. Rohit, though, stole the show yet again when he smashed 162 against West Indies at the Brabourne stadium. In these last three years, both Rohit and Kohli have scored at over 1000 runs and their average is in the high 60s. Rohit's average in 2018 was a mind-numbing 133.
Rohit Sharma has smashed three double tons in the last six years while Kohli has hit over 1000 runs in three consecutive years. (Image credit: Getty Images)
In 2019, Kohli is ahead when it comes to runs and average. However, when it comes to individual highs, Rohit is on top again. Kohli smashed 123 against Australia in Ranchi but Rohit smashed 140 against Pakistan in Manchester during the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. This was the tournament in which Rohit smashed five centuries and ended up as the leading run-getter with 648 runs.
Rohit has been a monster six-hitter ever since 2013, smashing a total of 209 sixes till now, which means an average of close to 40 sixes an year. The Mumbai right-hander has already crossed the record for most sixes hit by an Indian player in ODIs breaking MS Dhoni's record. Kohli, on the other hand, is consistency personified with seven out of his 12 years fetching him over 1000 runs.
For the average Indian fan, the question of whether Kohli is greater than Rohit is a never-ending debate. However, the fact remains that both are batting at their zenith and Indian cricket is not only receiving a boost but it is making opposition bowlers restless.