The Indian skipper, Rohit Sharma is regarded as one of the best batters in limited-overs cricket, however, he has scored just a couple of centuries in the first six years of his ODI career. His career witnessed a turn when then-captain MS Dhoni promoted him to an opener in 2013. As a result of that, he is just one century away from equaling former Australian skipper, Ricky Ponting in the list of batters with the most centuries in the history of 50-over cricket.
Rohit Sharma currently has 29 centuries and 9537 runs at an average close to 49 in 237 games. On the other hand, Ponting finished his career with 30 centuries and a tally of as many as 13704 runs in 375 matches at an average of 42. Former Indian opener, Gautam Gambhir certainly thinks a comparison can be made between the two and he ranks the Indian captain higher than the Australian great.
Ahead of the ongoing second ODI between India and Sri Lanka in Kolkata, Gautam Gambhir said, “The surprising fact is that in the last four or five years he has gotten this many hundreds. Rohit Sharma before the last five-six years was not this consistent. He definitely got about 20 hundred in the last five-six-seven years.”
Gautam Gambhir is right about Rohit’s century graph as Rohit has amassed 19 ODI hundreds in just five years between 2017 and 2020. In fact, his last century came back in January 2020 against Australia. For close to three years, he has been sitting one century shy of Ponting’s tally.
Gambhir’s comparison between Rohit and Ponting was so sudden that fellow panelist and former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar was completely taken aback. “You missed that,” Manjrekar said to attract the host’s attention. “No, he is a better player than Ricky Ponting. because Ricky has got a sh** record in the subcontinent,” Gambhir added.
If we look at the numbers, Ricky Ponting averages 41 in ODIs played in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. But there is a drastic difference in his column of centuries. Ponting only six centuries in the subcontinent out of his 30. Rohit, on the other hand, has an even spread of centuries. Outside the subcontinent, he has 13 ODI hundreds and averages 47, only one less than his overall career average.