Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara has weighed in on two of India's most prolific batsmen – Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli – calling them the most defining pair of the modern era. Sangakkara, who has played against both batsmen, made the statement keeping their consistency rate in mind.
Kohli is hands down the best ODI batsman in the world, averaging almost 60 in the format, with 43 centuries, whereas Rohit emerged as the leading run-getter of 2019 with 1490 runs, including five centuries at last year's World Cup. In fact, batting together, Kohli and Rohit have amassed 4878 runs with 18 century stands and 15 fifty-plus partnerships, the second-highest by any Indian pair after Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly.
"There is something very special about Virat and Rohit. That fact that rules have changed and maybe run-scoring might have become slightly easier in one-day cricket, but the fact remains that to be so consistent across all formats, he's so consistent in T20 cricket. It's incredibly hard, the volume of cricket that India athletes plays," Sangakkara said on the Cricket Connected Show on Star Sports.
"So, I think you have to have a lot of respect for Rohit and Virat but understand that it's all because of the players that have gone before and have done all the hard work then as well. So, it's a knock-on effect, so in every era, there's always a defining pair and in the modern era, it's Rohit and Virat for India for sure."
Kohli and Rohit have in the past credited their successful partnerships to former India captains Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, whose exploits the two batsmen have watched and followed. Together, Dravid and Ganguly batted together in 88 innings, scoring 4363 runs in partnerships for India with 13 century stands. However, as good as Dravid and Ganguly were, Sangakkara reckons Rohit and Kohli are more dangerous.
"If you look at Rahul and Dada, both of them are orthodox batsmen. They play beautiful cricket shots and are very technically correct, Dravid may be a little bit more so, but the ability to be as destructive with such rate and precision stroke-making is something that has to be really admired," the former wicketkeeper batsman added.
"If you take the modern-day game, India has two of the best players in Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, who play orthodox cricket but who are just absolutely destructive in any format of the game. You don't have to muscle the ball or put too much effort or look ugly doing it, they just play good cricket shots and results come."