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Has Rohit Sharma surpassed Virat Kohli & MS Dhoni to become India’s greatest captain?

Has Rohit Sharma surpassed Virat Kohli & MS Dhoni to become India’s greatest captain?

Rohit, Dhoni, and Kohli are the only three Indian skippers to have a win percentage higher than 50 in international cricket.

Following India’s mammoth victory over Ben Stokes’ England, claims that Rohit Sharma had already become India’s finest-ever captain emerged. The India cricket team handed the visitors a 434-run defeat, their biggest-ever win in Tests, as Rohit entered his name into Indian cricket folklore.

The magnitude of the win was massive, with Bazball already toppling India in Hyderabad. The fact that India is missing Virat Kohli, Mohammed Shami, KL Rahul, and Rishabh Pant makes it even more impressive. But is it fair to call Rohit Sharma India’s greatest-ever captain after his newfound success against Ben Stokes’ supposed revolutionary style of play?

It all depends on what one’s barometer is to determine such things. If we talk about impact, one could easily hail Kapil Dev as India’s best-ever skipper. Sourav Ganguly made India one of the best sides in the early 2000s and instilled a confidence that has seen the Men in Blue soar to heights in the next 20 years. So how do you decide what matters more, numbers or impact/influence?

I think most will agree that what Kapil Dev and Ganguly did for Indian cricket, was perhaps more important but in terms of wins and records, MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Rohit are ahead. The three modern titans are the only three Indian captains to have a win percentage of over 50% in international cricket.

Captaincy Record: Is Rohit Sharma better than Dhoni and Kohli?

If we look at their win percentage, Rohit trumps Kohli and Dhoni. His win percentage isn’t only the best among them, but he also has the best win percentage of any captain in the history of cricket. No leader in cricket has even touched the 70 mark, while Rohit stands at 73.45.

PlayerSpanMatchesWonLostWin %
MS Dhoni2007-201833217812053.61
Virat Kohli2013-20222131356063.38
Rohit Sharma2017-113832673.45
As of February 19, 2024

But does a better win percentage make you the greatest? No. In Rohit’s case, he lost the WTC Final and the ODI World Cup Final in 2023 alone and bowed out in the 2022 T20 World Cup with a humiliating loss to England in the semifinal. Does this in any way merit being hailed as India’s greatest-ever skipper?

Now, let’s move to Virat Kohli. Under the aggressive captain, India became a force to be reckoned with in all three formats, but similar to Rohit, he didn’t have success at the big events. Kohli lost the Champions Trophy 2017 Final, lost to New Zealand in the ODI World Cup 2019 semifinal, lost the WTC 2021 Final, and was knocked out of the 2021 T20 World Cup in the group stage itself.

The last man standing is MS Dhoni, the only man to have all the ICC trophies. Despite not having the best numbers, he helped India get their first T20 World Cup in 2007, their second ODI World Cup in 2011, and their first Champions Trophy title in 2013. But it’s not like he didn’t have his misfortunes.

Under him too, India failed aplenty. Out of the six T20 World Cups he led, India reached just two finals, winning one. He also failed in the 2015 ODI World Cup, but as his record suggests, his victories outweigh his failures. Despite having a poor win percentage, the only cabinet filled with trophies is his.

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