India’s first ODI assignment as newly crowned World Champions in 2011 was a tour to the West Indies. They went there without many of their stalwarts.
West Indies were, themselves, riddled with personnel issues between their Board and players, notably Chris Gayle.
After being overlooked for the World Cup, Rohit Sharma was making a comeback into the Indian team. Even before the 2011 World Cup, he had been India’s lowest impact specialist ODI batsman (min. 40 ODIs) since his debut in 2007. In that period, only Yusuf Pathan and bowlers had worse batting failure-rates for India than his 67% (min. 40 ODIs). He had no series-defining (
Despite these facts, Rohit Sharma started the series with a strong performance in Trinidad that helped India lead the five-match series early on.
India had wobbled to 61 for 3, chasing 215, at which point Rohit Sharma came in and saw his team to victory by 4 wickets with an unbeaten 68 in 75 balls.
This was his second-highest impact ODI batting performance at the time.
India won the next match at the same ground by 7 wickets and didn’t require a significant contribution from Sharma.
The series was within India’s reach in the third ODI at Antigua.
Andre Russell played one of the most memorable ODI innings of recent times – 92 in 64 balls from 96 for 7 – to set India a target of 226.
Chasing for a third consecutive time, Rohit Sharma came in at a tricky 60 for 3 in the 16th over.
Sharma saw more wickets fall around him – 79 for 4, 88 for 5 and 92 for 6 – until he was able to build a partnership of 88 runs with Harbhajan Singh. From 180 for 7, Sharma and Praveen Kumar ended things in a hurry as India won the match by 3 wickets, going up 3-0 in the series.
Sharma scored 39 and 57 in the last two matches as India won the series 4-1.
Rohit Sharma’s series-clinching innings of 86 in 91 balls had all the elements of a high impact batting performance – high proportion of runs scored, significant pressure (of falling wickets) absorbed, significant partnerships built, a strike-rate well above par in the match and all of it in a chase.
He dominated the series with two high-impact performances earning them series-defining status.
That series-winning moment in Antigua would transform his career.
It would happen on the back of three more SDs, one of which came just six months after Antigua in West Indies’ return tour to India.
He would score two ODI double-hundreds, one of which is India’s highest-impact ODI batting performance ever – 264 against Sri Lanka at Kolkata in 2014.
His other ODI double-ton – 209 against Australia at Bangalore in 2013 – still couldn’t match the
Rohit Sharma’s failure-rate would also improve marginally from 67% to 56% which is still high for a specialist batsman. However, he rose to being one of India’s five highest impact ODI batsmen ever based on his big-match performances. He has comprehensively answered his critics who had written him off as a flair player without substance.
Art- Gokul Chakravarthy
NOTE: Impact Index has undergone an upgradation in November 2015, and though 95% of its findings remain the same, there have been some minor shifts. This piece was updated post that, and is up-to-date as of August 2016.