Rohit Sharma reaches new heights with incredible knock

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Rohit Sharma made the highest ever One Day International score at Eden Gardens in Kolkata after a mesmerising 264 against Sri Lanka. His knock was the first ever score over 250 in an ODI as he beat the previous record set by fellow Indian Virender Sehwag, when he scored 219 against West Indies in Indore in 2011. The opener’s innings which lasted 173 balls consisted of 32 fours and nine sixes, helping India reach 404-4. Although Sharma failed to level the List A record of 268 set by Ali Brown for Surrey in 2002, Sharma became the first player to hit two double centuries in ODIs, his first coming against Australia in November last year in Bangalore. With that in mind, are double hundreds becoming the norm, or is Sharma’s record something that will never be broken?

Rohit_Sharma

Only three cricketers have managed to score 200 runs or above in a 50-over game, Sachin Tendulkar being the first man ever to do it with his 200* against South Africa in Gwalior in 2010, along with Sehwag and Sharma. When considering the question as to whether this could be a regular occurrence in the future, the venues where these innings were hit must be taken into account. India’s pitches tend to be more favourable towards batting sides with flatter wickets than those encountered in Australia and England, and therefore a lack of a quality spinner hinders most sides on tours there. However, to suggest that the reason these players hit double hundreds simply due to the pitches would be doing a great injustice to everyone involved.  Sachin Tendulkar holds the record of having the most runs in ODIs, some 18,426 runs in 463 matches; and therefore he arguably deserved to be the first ever man to reach 200. Virender Sehwag is one of India’s most destructive batsmen ever, and his 219 demonstrated the extent to which he can destroy bowling attacks. The most intriguing of these double centurions is Rohit Sharma. In the early stages of his career, he was renowned as someone who had all the talent but was not stepping up to the mark often enough for India. That opinion has changed over the last few years, as having been tried in the middle order he was moved to opener to partner Shikhar Dhawan.  Now 27, he has excelled in an Indian shirt; his two double centuries are a phenomenal achievement, let alone someone who a few years ago faced criticism from outside as to whether he would ever make it as an India regular.

Will Sharma’s record ever be beaten? Not according to West Indies legend Brian Lara. Although Lara believed during his playing days that 200 in ODIs was an achievable goal, with his highest score being 169 against Sri Lanka, the West Indies great believes Sharma’s extra 64 runs will not be surpassed. “I felt that 200 was possible. I just believe that this one (Sharma’s innings) is a little bit unreachable now” said Lara. On Rohit’s innings, he stated “This one is an exceptional performance, getting to that total and he still got out. It was a special innings. It’s very, very difficult to see it being surpassed”.  Fortunately for ODI cricket lovers, you can never predict what will happen in the future, and so the possibility still remains that this magnificent score will be beaten.  Although Lara has doubts as to whether 264 could be surpassed, there is no such dilemma for the record holder of the highest score in Test matches when asking why the ODI record has been broken three times in the last five times. The answer for him lies within the shortest form of the game: Twenty20 (T20). On whether his 400* in Tests could be broken, Lara replied “I believe it’s going to be broken because of T20 and the way the guys are batting.  The likes of Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, (if) these guys get two days in a Test match on a good batting track, and the pace they bat at, everything is possible”.  What is most noticeable from these record individual scores is the effect they have on the team score; something Lara also credits T20 for improving. “T20 has definitely developed people’s confidence; they’ve made scores in the 200-250 range… easy scores to get to. Batsmen and teams now have to look way beyond that”.

The development of T20 cricket has helped ODI cricket immensely. Not long ago, there was talk of the ODI game leaving spectators disinterested, leading to speculation of the game being two innings of 25 overs. However, it seems that these double hundreds and series’ such as the India-Australia one last year has revitalized ODI cricket. Whilst Sharma’s record looks impressive, the sky really is the limit and I would not be surprised if we are talking about it being broken not too long down the line.

Photograph: wikipedia

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