Did Rohit Sharma deserve a place in Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year list?
Ben Stokes, Ellyse Perry, Pat Cummins, Marnus Labuschagne, Jofra Archer and Simon Harmer were among the winners. 2019 World Cup's top scorer Rohit Sharma didn't have too bad a year, did he?
122, 57, 40, 1, 18, 102, 104, 103, 1 - these were Rohit Sharma's numbers in the 2019 ICC World Cup which, for the record, was the biggest world tournament of the last year. Sharma ended the tournament as the highest run-getter with 648 runs from nine innings at a jaw-dropping average of 81.00 and a strike rate of almost 100, with 67 fours and 14 sixes.
Sharma also scored the most 100s in a calendar year as opener last year - 10 - and the most runs in a calendar year by an Indian opener. With 19 hundreds, he has the most ODI 100s since the start of 2017 and has climbed to the four spot in the list of the most hundred makers, only behind Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and Ricky Ponting.
Among the Test playing nations, he was also the second-highest run scorer in T20Is in 2019, behind Indian skipper Virat Kohli, with 396 runs from 14 matches. This includes four half-centuries and the best of 85.
In Tests as well, a format that Sharma was yet to prove himself, he took the opportunity of opening the batting with both hands, slamming 556 runs from just six innings at a ridiculous average of 92.66 and a strike rate of 75.95, including three tons and a double.
After all this, the list of Leading Cricketers of 2019 by Wisden Almanack was recently released, and say what! Rohit Sharma's name was not in there among the top five players of 2019.
England all-rounder Ben Stokes and Australia’s Ellyse Perry were named the Leading Cricketers of 2019 by Wisden Almanack. Along with Perry, Wisden named Australia’s Pat Cummins, Marnus Labuschagne, England’s Jofra Archer and South Africa’s Simon Harmer as the Five Cricketers of the Year. Wisden also named West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell as T20 Leading Cricketer of 2019.
This has understandably ruffled a few feathers on whether equal weightage to performances was given in the list. Former India batsman VVS Laxman said that he was shocked to see Rohit Sharma’s name missing from the Wisden Almanack’s Five Cricketers of the Year 2019 list.
"I think anyone who follows the game of cricket will be surprised and shocked not to see Rohit Sharma’s name in those five players list,” said Laxman. “Because yes, The Ashes is an important series, the World Cup is bigger than Ashes. And someone who has scored five hundreds; remember the first hundred was on a tough wicket in Southampton against South Africa and none of the other batsmen got runs.”
“And he [Rohit] played another important knock against Pakistan. I am really shocked and surprised, and every cricketer will be shocked and surprised by this announcement from Wisden,” Laxman added.
Ellyse Perry, despite missing out on the final of the T20 World Cup where Australia beat India at the MCG, was s sensation for Australia through the least year, including her breathtaking performance in the last year's Ashes. Marnus Labuschagne's Ashes was like a dream come true and the youngster followed it up with a golden Australian summer, flaunting a Bradmanesque average.
Jofra Archer graduated from a T20 freelancer to an established England international, both with the red and the white ball. Kolpak player Simon Harmer lit up the County Championship with his off-spin. Pat Cummins blowed his heart out throughout the year, and with a lot of success. And, what more can you say about Ben Stokes that has already not been said?
But, Rohit Sharma, what about him? He too didn't have too bad a year, did he?
© Cricket World 2020