By: Chinmay Vaidya
On our most recent podcast, we broke down a big board of the 10 most valuable players in cricket today. We all had Rohit Sharma on our board, varying from #2 to #5 in the ranking. Aashay said Sharma is a better version of Virender Sehwag in terms of playing style and I promised to look into the numbers. Here’s what I’ve got.
Full disclosure: I’m a Sehwag fan. Always have been, always will be. The dude was the most destructive force in the game for nearly 15 years. He was extremely volatile as a player, but when he got going it was curtains for the opposition. I’m not going to make a case for either player being better than the other, but we can attempt to determine who has been more effective given their similar playing styles.
First, we’ll look at the raw statistics. I like true average, which is total runs divided by innings. True average is a better measure of how many runs a player actually scores per match and given both Sehwag and Sharma primarily open as ODI players, it’s good to compare them without considering not out innings.
Rohit Sharma ODI Raw Statistics: 7650 runs, 40.05 True Average, 22 100s, 37 50s, 88.66 S/R
Virender Sehwag ODI Raw Statistics: 8273 runs, 33.76 True Average, 15 100s, 38 50s, 104.33 S/R
Clearly, Sharma is the more consistent player. He’s more likely to score more runs and get a bigger score, but Sehwag is the more explosive player. Given how cricket’s rules have changed to favor batsmen over time, you could argue Sehwag’s batting style was ahead of his time and he didn’t get to take full advantage of the rules geared towards more run scoring. Still, Sharma looks to be the better bet in ODIs so far.
Let’s also look at T20s. Sehwag didn’t play in enough T20 internationals to get a good measure on his performance, but he did play in enough T20 contests as a whole to provide some data.
Rohit Sharma T20 Raw Statistics: 7701 runs, 27.30 True Average, 6 100s, 52 50s, 133.48 S/R
Virender Sehwag T20 Raw Statistics: 4061 runs, 25.86 True Average, 2 100s, 24 50s, 147.83 S/R
This is actually really close. Given Sharma will go on to play more than double the amount of T20s Sehwag played, these numbers aren’t very different. Extrapolate Sehwag’s numbers to match Sharma’s innings volume and you get the following line:
Sehwag T20 Extrapolated Statistics: 7292 runs, 4 100s, 43 50s
Sharma still has the edge in run scoring, but the true average is much closer and Sehwag’s still the more explosive player. The next step involves a more detailed look at consistency, particularly in the ODI format.
Sehwag is more likely to score under 50 runs in a match than Sharma and the latter is also more likely turn in a big score with 22 hundreds. Sharma also has 3 double hundreds to Sehwag’s one. However, the percentages are pretty similar across the board.
From a consistency and conversion standpoint, Sharma looks to be a better version of Sehwag. He’s less likely got get out under 50 if he escapes single digits and has the better chance of making a big score. Sehwag is still the more explosive player and didn’t quite get in on the new era of cricket favoring run scoring, but Sharma provides the better floor as a player.