India’s woeful away ODI record in Rohit Sharma’s absence shows his importance for Virat Kohli & Co.

Rohit Sharma has been one of India’s most consistent run-getter in white-ball cricket for the last few years. The Hitman has undergone a significant transformation since being promoted as an opener in the Champions Trophy 2013. He has been piling on runs at a remarkable consistency and seems to be ageing like a fine wine as he keeps getting better with every passing year.

Rohit had a memorable World Cup campaign for the Men in Blue last year where he finished as the highest run-getter with a staggering 648 runs in nine games at a brilliant average of 81. He also became the first batsman in the world to score five centuries in a single World Cup campaign creating a new record.

Rohit didn’t stop there and continued his stellar run in West Indies and India’s home season. He was up for the challenge after being asked to open in Tests for the first time and scored bucket loads of runs. He has carried on his rich form in 2020 and was impressive in the T20I series against New Zealand before an injury ruled him out of the recently-concluded ODI series.

Rohit suffered a calf injury and had to be sidelined from the ODIs and Test rubber against the Black Caps. In his absence, India were thrashed 3-0 in the ODI series after a poor show with both bat and the ball. While it was evident that a misfiring Virat Kohli and an out of rhythm Jasprit Bumrah hurt India’s chances in the ODIs, Rohit absence cost the Men in Blue dearly at the top.

In his absence, the new opening pair of Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal returned with a combined run-tally of 120 runs in three games. Shaw scored 84 out of the 120 while Mayank failed to deliver in all three games managing scores of 32, 3 and 1 respectively. India have now lost six of their last seven ODIs in SENA countries ( South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia) in Rohit’s absence while one game ended in a no result.

Apart from Rohit, Kohli’s ordinary run with the bat and Bumrah’s slum in form cost India. Kohli recorded his lowest tally as an Indian captain in a bilateral ODI series as he managed to score just 75 runs in three games. Bumrah, on the other hand, returned wicketless after bowling 30 overs in three games. The 3-0 series defeat is India’s first ODI series whitewash in 31 years.