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Rohit Sharma vs Virat Kohli: Who is the better T20 captain?

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Rohit Sharma started his tenure as full-time T20I captain in an emphatic fashion as the Indian cricket team thrashed New Zealand 3-0 in a three-match home series.

After beating the Kiwis by five wickets and seven wickets respectively in Jaipur and Ranchi, the Rohit Sharma-led Men in Blue registered a clean sweep by hammering the Blackcaps by 73 runs in Kolkata.

"The quality of the bench has been amazing. They have been performing consistently whenever they get the chance. It is important for me to give them the freedom. The external matters will take care of themselves. It is a young team and the guys haven't played a lot of games. It is important that the guys get time in the middle," the 34-year-old said after clinching the T20I series.

Rohit Sharma, of course, is no stranger to leading a side. Since being appointed as the permanent captain of Team Mumbai in 2013, he has guided his side to a record five Indian T20 League titles. 

But while his credentials in the Indian T20 League are unquestionable, Twenty20 Internationals are an entirely different ball game altogether. So with the team now undergoing a change in leadership, here we look at how Rohit Sharma has fared as a captain in T20 cricket.

Rohit Sharma captaincy record in T20 cricket

Rohit Sharma has captained a total of 158 T20 matches, winning 99 and losing on 55 occasions. These figures are considerably better than Virat Kohli’s numbers as the Bangalore captain has won 93 of his 189 T20 matches as a captain.

As T20 captain
Player Matches Won Lost Tied NR Runs 50s 100s Win %
Virat Kohli 189 93 85 5 6 6451 48 5 49.21%
Rohit Sharma 158 99 55 4 0 4515 32 2 62.65

Kohli, however, has performed better with the bat, scoring 6,451 runs as skipper, including 48 half-centuries and five centuries. Rohit Sharma, on the other hand, has accumulated 4,515 runs in 156 T20s as a captain with 32 half-centuries and two tons.

Interestingly, the two players’ Twenty20 Internationals stats as skippers is where the plot thickens and the reasoning behind handing over the T20I captaincy to Rohit comes to light. While Kohli has struggled to lead India to glory in ICC events like the T20I World Cup, Rohit Sharma has performed on the big stage and captained 28 T20Is so far in his career, winning 24 and losing four.

As T20I captain
Player Matches Won Lost Tied NR Runs 50s 100s Win %
Virat Kohli 50 30 16 2 2 1570 13 0 60.00%
Rohit Sharma 28 24 4 0 0 982 7 2 85.71 %

On the other hand, although Virat Kohli is India’s second-most successful T20I captain after MS Dhoni,  he has won 30 of his 50 T20Is as a captain with an inferior win rate of 60 per cent compared to Rohit’s 81.81 per cent win rate as India skipper. 

Kohli’s return of 1,570 runs from those 50 T20Is also indicates that the added pressure of leading a side takes its toll as his 13 half-centuries and no tons in T20Is demonstrates. 

Rohit Sharma, however, has done a commendable job, to say the least for India as T20I captain. Besides leading Mumbai to multiple titles in the Indian T20 League as skipper, Rohit in his 28 T20Is as a captain has scored 987 runs with seven half-centuries and two tons.

Furthermore, following a 3-0 series win over West Indies in the shortest format in February 2022, Rohit Sharma became the first Indian captain to lead the team to three or more series whitewashes in T20I cricket. 

Featured photo: AFP / Dibyangshu Sarkar

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