These are the highest impact ODI batsmen in India’s history.
Sachin Tendulkar’s presence at the top is again expected; his 9 SDs as a batsman is also the highest by a batsman in the history of ODI cricket. However, it is also highly interesting to note that Tendulkar doesn’t top any of the individual batting parameters for India even though he has a prominent contribution in each one of them.
The major reason why Tendulkar doesn’t top any of the lists is because of the dazzling emergence of Virat Kohli onto the international scene. Since his debut, Kohli has quite literally set the international arena on fire and his impact numbers also point towards the same. In his 85-match career so far, Kohli has emerged as the second-highest impact batsman for India. Even when it comes to all the individual batting parameters (except Strike Rate IMPACT), Kohli emerges as the highest impact Indian batsman in all of them. In fact, Kohli’s Chasing IMPACT is the best in the world and is almost 40% better than the next batsman (Martin Crowe) on the world list – mind-boggling in an overall context. If he maintains this level of ascendancy in this format, he will soon be its highest impact batsman.
Gautam Gambhir’s sustained performances at the top have not got the attention they deserve; his role in India’s current status as World Cup champions is huge. It is remarkable that on a list of best Indian batsmen who have chased under pressure, both Kohli and Gambhir top the list comprehensively.
Dhoni’s status as India’s best finisher in its history is well-deserved – he has stayed not out in almost a third of the innings he has batted in during a chase (32) – a sensational proportion. But the interesting thing is that Kohli and Gambhir, with their tallies of just 8 and 10 not outs, produced such a high impact during those performances that they are actually ahead of Dhoni even when it comes to Finishing IMPACT.
Sourav Ganguly’s presence at the third spot is not a matter of great surprise (except for the fact that Kohli leapfrogs him to the number 2 spot). Ganguly, during his playing days was highly instrumental along with Sachin Tendulkar in providing solid, positive starts to the Indian innings upfront and had a major role in shaping India’s ODI dominance —both as a batsman and as a captain. Moreover, his tally of 2 SDs as a batsman is also the second-highest (joint) by an Indian opener in ODI cricket.
Navjot Singh Sidhu and Mohammed Azharuddin come in at the 4th and the 5th position respectively. Azharuddin’s 5 SDs as a batsman makes him a stand-out big match performer while Sidhu’s low failure rate shows that he was one of India’s most consistent batsmen (2nd highest) of all time.
Even though Rahul Dravid was initially considered as a cast-off in the limited overs format due to his inability to score at a fast pace, his talent to form partnerships (Partnership Building IMPACT) in the middle overs and to stave off pressure (Pressure IMPACT) puts him on this list – both qualities that make him India’s highest impact Test batsmen too.
Virender Sehwag’s presence at number 10 may come as a shock to many but the fact of the matter is that even though he is the third highest strike rate impact batsman in the world, his failure rate of 52% has been a consistent let-down for him and his team. Surprisingly, he is also the only Indian batsman on this list without a SD – a significant fact when it comes to recounting his place in India’s ODI history.
A surprising presence on this list is the one that of Vinod Kambli. His batting prowess and his 3 SDs as a batsman (third-highest for an Indian) suggests a batsman of considerable potential but it was his inconsistency as a batsman (56% failure rate) which eventually (unfortunately) got the better of him.
Note: Some notable exceptions on the batting list are Yuvraj Singh (high failure rate), Kris Srikkanth and Suresh Raina (no SDs).
Yuvraj Singh in fact, just misses the cut and comes in at the 11th position with a Batting IMPACT of 1.61. Even though Yuvraj has 2 SDs as a batsman in the ODI format, it is his inconsistency (56 % failure rate) that has been a major source of worry for him and his team throughout his career.
The stories that unfold on various batting parameters are revealing.
When it comes to Runs Tally IMPACT (proportion of match runs made through career), the highest impact batsmen are Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly
The highest Strike Rate IMPACT batsmen (highest strike rates relative to all the matches in their careers) are Virender Sehwag, Kapil Dev and Sachin Tendulkar.
The best Pressure IMPACT batsmen (those who absorbed the most pressure that came about due to fall of wickets) are Virat Kohli, Rahul Dravid and Mohammed Azharuddin.
The batsmen with the highest Partnership Building IMPACT (who built the most partnerships in the middle) are Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly.
The best Chasing IMPACT batsmen (who registered the highest impact while chasing a target) are Virat Kohli, Gautam Gambhir and (interestingly) Sunil Gavaskar.
The batsmen with the lowest failure rates (a failure is seen in this system as an inability to register an IMPACT of even 1 in a match) are Virat Kohli, Navjot Sidhu and Sachin Tendulkar.
The Highest Impact Batting Performances in India’s ODI history (Series/tournament context):
1. M Azharuddin – 90 off 118 v South Africa, Calcutta, 1993 – Batting IMPACT 7.99
After being reduced t0 18-3 in the first six overs, the Indian innings got its much needed boost through Azharuddin’s blistering counter attack against a dominant South African bowling attack in this Hero Cup semi-final encounter. Even though India posted only 195 runs on board (with Azharuddin scoring 46% of it) it proved to be enough for them to seal the deal against the South Africans.
2. SR Tendulkar –117 not out off 120 v Australia, Sydney, 2008 – Batting IMPACT 7.70
Though chasing in crunch situations has never been Sachin Tendulkar’s forte, this particular innings will undoubtedly go down as one of his best while chasing (other than the Sharjah one) for India’s cause. With India struggling at 87-3 chasing 240 against a disciplined Aussie bowling attack, Tendulkar not only held and scored from one end but also guided a young Rohit Sharma on the other. His contribution led to India winning the 1st CB series final and eventually the series.
3. SR Tendulkar – 95 off 78 v Pakistan, Dhaka, 1998 – Batting IMPACT 7.43
In this 1st final of the Silver Jubilee Independence Cup at Dhaka, Pakistan after electing to bat first managed to post a competitive total of 212 runs in a fog reduced 46 overs match. India in reply, rolled off to a blazing start with Tendulkar being the main initiator. He was supported well by Ganguly on the other end and by the time Tendulkar was dismissed, India had already amassed 159 runs in 25 overs and needed only a further 54 runs to win off 21 overs. Undoubtedly, one of Tendulkar’s most unheralded ODI innings.
The above performances are all within the series/tournament context. The highest impact batting performance within a match context in Indian ODI history is Virat Kohli’s unbeaten knock of 79 off 104 against West Indies (Johannesburg, 2009). Chasing 130 in this Champions Trophy encounter, Kohli controlled the Indian chase after they had initially collapsed to 12-2 and in the process also notched up India’s only win of the tournament. Virender Sehwag’s unbeaten 99 off 100 v Sri Lanka (Dambulla, 2010) and his 110 off 93 v New Zealand (Dambulla, 2010) are the next highest impact innings within a match context.
Note: Sachin Tendulkar’s iconic knock of 134 off 131 v Australia (Sharjah, 1998) – Batting IMPACT 6.97, just misses the cut and comes in at the 4th position for the highest batting impact performance in a series context. Similarly, Kapil Dev’s innings of 175 not out off 138 balls v Zimbabwe (Tunbridge Wells, 1983) also doesn’t count amongst the highest impact performances in India’s ODI history because it came against a weak opponent. (Before this match, Zimbabwe had played only 4 ODIs, out of which they had lost 3 and won only 1).