Dubai: India’s ‘Hitman’ Rohit Sharma and his team’s pace ace Mohammad Shami ended the year on top of the cricketing world as highest run-getter and wicket-taker, respectively, in One Day Internationals.
It’s another matter that they could not win the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup for India, but the numbers speak volumes of their consistency throughout the year.
Sharma is often overshadowed by Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s amazing ability to pile up the runs but in the last World Cup in England, Sharma stood tall amidst all the batsmen in the world.
He earned the honour of being the first batsman to hit five centuries in a single edition of the World Cup.
It was at Leeds where Sharma broke Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara’s record of four centuries in a World Cup with his fifth three-figure innings.
Asked how pleased he was with this record, his quick reply was: “I don’t play for records. I play to score runs and lift the Cup. I don’t look at anything else,” he said.
It was evident for all those who watched him in the World Cup that his focus was on piling up the runs — showing that he too had a new-found appetite for runs like Kohli.
The beauty of his batting was his amazing ability to hit sixes with ease — no wonder fans address him as ‘Ro-hitman’ Sharma.
He was a crowd puller and it was evident every time he hit a six. The applause of the crowd lasted for a long time, even past the next delivery. The opener is not big built or muscular but he can hit sixes with ease.
So confident is his ability to clear the ground that all his sixes are played without the slightest expression on his face.
It’s clear that the moment he hits the ball, he is sure that it will sail over the boundary and sometimes even out of the ground.
Be it ODIs and T20 Internationals and now Tests, his strokes are a treat to watch and no wonder he piled up 2,442 runs across all formats this year — including 1,490 runs in ODIs alone.
It is a matter of pride for India that Kohli, with 887 points, and Sharma with 873 points are occupying the first and second positions in ICC ODI ranking for batsmen.
Shami’s show this year after overcoming a severe personal crisis to be the best among world’s bowlers, betrayed his amazing ability to focus on his game.
Shami became the leading wicket-taker in ODIs with 42 wickets from 21 games through sheer hard work — while his ability to add more variety to his bowling was fabulous.
It made his bowling a treat to watch, especially during the ICC 2019 World Cup. He came up with a wicket almost every time he was called into bowl and in Southampton, he became the second Indian bowler to take a hat-trick in World Cup after Chetan Sharma had done it 32 years ago.
In the press conference in Southampton, he revealed what triggered his comeback trail.
Shami had failed the fitness test and lost his place to play against Afghanistan in a one-off Test last year.
He had put on weight after undergoing a knee surgery. He knew that only through diet and hard work, he can get back to the top of his game and avoided sweets and bread and did not allow his personal problems to distract him.
“I put the past behind me. It is important not to show your weakness or your doubts to the batsman,” he remarked.
The result of his thinking and positivity made him work on adding variations to his bowling and emerge as the highest wicket-taker of the year.
2019: Rohit Sharma in numbers
— During the CWC19, became the first batsman to hit five 100s in a single edition.
— He became the first player to score twin centuries in his maiden Test as an opener in the Vizag Test vs South Africa.
— His 303 runs in Vizag — the most by any batsman in their first Test match as an opener.
— Rohit became the first player with seven consecutive 50-plus scores on Indian soil in Test cricket.
— The 13 sixes hit by Rohit in the Vizag Test match (both innings) are the most by any player.
— became the first opener with 10 International centuries in a year.
— became the first batsman with international 100s against 7 different opponents in a year.
— became the first batsman with three 150-plus ODI scores against one opponent (all vs WI).
— first batman to hit eight ODI scores of 150-plus this year (next best is six by David Warner).
— Hit most international sixes in a single year — 78 in 2019 (bettered his own record of 74 sixes in 2018).
— Hit 2442 runs in all formats for India — the most by any opener in international cricket in a calendar year. Rohit scored 1490 runs alone in ODIs to emerge as the highest scorer in the 50-overs format this year, followed by Virat Kohli (1377) in second position.
2019: Mohammad Shami in numbers
— Claimed 77 international wickets across all formats in 2019 in 30 matches. Only Australian Pat Cummins has taken more (94 international wickets in 35 matches) in 2019. The next best by an Indian is 42 wickets in 19 games by Jasprit Bumrah.
— Has 33 wickets in eight Test matches, the most by an Indian Test bowler in 2019 (Next best is 25 in six matches by Ishant Sharma)
— Has 42 wickets in 21 ODI matches, the most by any ODI bowler in 2019 (next best 38 in 20 matches by New Zealander Trent Boult, followed by 33 in 19 matches by India’s Bhuvneshwar Kumar)
— Claimed a hat-trick in the World Cup (against Afghanistan) — only the second Indian to do so in a World Cup match after Chetan Sharma in 1987.
— Statistics by Mohandas Menon