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Rohit Sharma's knock is a reflection of T20 generation



Updated On - Saturday, 16 November 2013

3 November 2013

On February 24, 2010, Sachin Tendulkar tucked Charles Langeveldt to backward point for a single, on December 8, 2011 Virender Sehwag hit Andre Russell for a boundary past third man and yesterday Rohit Sharma hit Clint McKay for a six over covers.

With these shots three generations of Indian cricketers crossed the 200-mark in an ODI innings. The first one came against all expectations, the second one was long expected and the most recent one has come at a time when the question is not when but how soon and by whom.

At the Captain Roop Singh Stadium in 2010, Tendulkar was a 38-year-old senior statesman of the game who had already achieved greatness. He was at a stage of his career when he was playing percentage cricket, rather than the all attacking and flamboyant cricket he displayed in his early days. The days of Desert Storm were well past him.

Although he had played an innings of 175 in 2009 at Hyderabad against Australia, it looked highly unlikely that at that point of career he will be in physical shape to last 50 overs. But that night, in Gwalior, he drove Wayne Parnell, clipped, pulled, cut Dale Steyn, glanced van der Marwe, hit Jaques Kallis over his head, lofted Langeveldt and thumped JP Duminy over long-on boundary.

He was cramping as he moved into the 190s. It almost seemed that the 200 might not happen as his partner MS Dhoni took a 6, 4 and a 6 from Steyn's 49th over. But Tendulkar got his chance and with a single became the first man to hit a double ton in an ODI.

He later said, "I don't think any record is unbreakable. Records are made to be broken. I hope, if this record were to be broken, it's done by an Indian."

Sehwag kept his hope. If there was one man who was expected to cross the 200-mark, it was him. It remained a mystery that a man with two triple hundreds in Test cricket and a game that was so suited to field restrictions, small boundaries, flat tracks and fast out fields had not scored a double ton in the ODIs till that day at the Holkar Cricket Stadium. It was a non-glamorous series against a none-too-strong West Indies team.

Sehwag had not been part of the Indian ODI team since the World Cup earlier that year. He had been plagued by injuries and bad form. He was fighting to stay relevant. He had scored a duck in the previous game. But this was going to be Sehwag's day. There were 25 boundaries and seven sixes. Before he got out on the third ball of the 47th over with 219, a score of 250 looked a reality.

Sehwag said, "It won't be easy for people to score double hundreds. Over the last so many years only two have done it. This opportunity will come only once in a lifetime and I am happy I have taken it."

But yesterday it did look a tad easy when Sharma crossed that mark at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore. Not to take anything away from the Mumbaikar's effort but in the ongoing series there really has not been any contest between bat and ball. Rather than cricket, it has been a run-porn. Boundary is the new dot ball and six the new single.

Yesterday, Sharma hit 16 sixes, a new world record, and 12 boundaries. His second hundred came in just 42 balls. He moved from 50 to 209 in just 87 balls. His last 15 balls read like this: 6,4,0,6,4,6,1,6,4,2,0,1,6,6, out. Coming from an IPL veteran, it was a knock reflective of T20 generation.

This has been a watershed series in Sharma's career. Although he has had a great Champions Trophy in England followed by a decent tri-series in West Indies and an average run in Zimbabwe, it wasn't sure that he had finally cemented his place in the side. There were a few ifs and buts. Now there are none. With a 141 at Jaipur and 209 at Bangalore he has ensured that there won't be any 'talented' jokes any more.

Tendulkar took 20 years in international cricket to cross the mark, Sehwag 12 and Sharma just six. May be it's just the times we are living in.

219 Virender Sehwag

Balls: 149, fours: 25 sixes: 7 vs West Indies (Indore, 2011) Margin of win: 153 runs.

209 Rohit Sharma

Balls: 158, fours: 12, sixes 16 vs Australia (Bangalore, 2013) Margin of win: 57 runs.

200* Sachin Tendulkar

Balls: 147, fours: 25, sixes: 3 vs South Africa (Gwalior, 2010) Margin of win: 153 runs.

Published by: The Times of India

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