Why Gayle, Afridi, Dhoni and all others would bow to Rohit, the king of sixes | Cricket - Hindustan Times

Why Gayle, Afridi, Dhoni and all other big-hitters would bow to Rohit Sharma, the undisputed king of sixes

Oct 12, 2023 12:26 PM IST

Why Rohit Sharma will always be remembered as the undisputed king of sixes even if his six-hitting world record is broken in the future.

Rohit Sharma and six-hitting is a match made in heaven... err... made on the cricket field. The pull shot - the short-arm, the hook, the front foot flat-batted and every other variation of the pull shot that exists - the lofted extra cover drives and the slog sweeps have been his biggest strengths in maintaining that seemingly unbreakable relationship with six hitting. On Wednesday, during India's second World Cup 2023 match against Afghanistan, that bond reached a new level, that no other cricketer has reached. Rohit could now claim to be the undisputed king of sixes.

New Delhi: India's captain Rohit Sharma plays a shot during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 match against Afghanistan, at Arun Jaitley Stadium, in New Delhi(PTI)
New Delhi: India's captain Rohit Sharma plays a shot during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 match against Afghanistan, at Arun Jaitley Stadium, in New Delhi(PTI)

Before the India vs Afghanistan match in Delhi, the tag belonged to the 'Universe Boss' Chirs Gayle, perhaps the only other cricketer apart from Rohit, who treats six-hitting as a fun, leisurely activity rather than an obligation - often hard to achieve - while batting. Pakistan's Shahid Afridi would surely come close but he would himself agree that Rohit and Gayle have more finesse.

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Rohit hit five sixes in his nonchalant annihilation of Afghanistan. Nonchalant annihilation? Excuse me? Well... That's the best part about Rohit, or the worst if you are at the receiving end. Even the massacre of a bowling attack seems like an art. And that is what separates him from all the other big hitters -- Gayle, Afridi, McCullum, Dhoni, and de Villiers. They were all world beaters in their own rights and will always deserve a special mention whenever six-hitting is up for discussion but Rohit is a romance of a different kind. He is the closest cross of a copybook batter and a prolific power hitter.

He doesn't have the towering presence of Gayle, the fearlessness of Afridi, the brute force of Dhoni or the immaculate innovativeness of AB de Villiers and yet, Rohit sits right on top of the six-hitters list despite playing fewer games than many. How, you ask? "A lot of work," says Rohit.

"When I started playing this game, I never thought I would be able to hit sixes, let alone that many sixes. Obviously, a lot of work has been put into it over the years. So, I am quite happy with the work that I have done. I am the sort of person who is not satisfied (with what he has been doing), and I want to continue what I am doing. My focus is on that. Yeah, it is a small happy moment for me," said Rohit in a video posted by the BCCI after smashing 131 off 84 balls as India made a mockery of the 273-run target by reaching home in 35 overs.

Numbers prove Rohit is the best ever six-hitter cricket has ever seen

Rohit needed three sixes to go past Gayle when he walked out to bat on Wednesday. He hit five. The record-breaking one, however, came as early as the 8th over in India's chase. It was a short one from Naveen-ul-Haq. The universe was as if conspiring. It had to be the pull shot. Rohit just planted his front foot but transferred his weight beautifully like he always does and pulled it for an 85-metre six. That was his 554th six - the most in international cricket, going past Gayle's tally of 553. By the time Rohit finished, he had added two more to his tally. He currently has 556 sixes in 473 innings.

For a second, if we keep the romanticism of textbook batting away from the debate, it would still be difficult to dislodge Rohit's superiority when it comes to six-hitting. Let's do some number crunching. Gayle needed 551 innings to hit 553 sixes. Afridi, the third on the list, has hit 476 sixes in 508 innings followed by McCullum, who needed 474 innings to hit 398 sixes. Dhoni hit 359 sixes in 526 innings while de Villiers smashed 328 sixes in 484 innings.

Rohit is not only way ahead in terms of sixes per match ratio than every other cricketer in the top 10 but he also has a better average than most. Only de Villiers and Dhoni rank better in terms of average in international cricket than Rohit in the top list of top-10 six-hitters.

Rohit, as expected, doesn't consider himself the greatest ever six-hitter. "Universe Boss is Universe Boss. I have taken a leaf out of his book. Over the years, we have seen him, such a six-hitting machine he is wherever he plays. We wear the same jersey (No. 45). I am sure he is happy about it because jersey No. 45 has done it (breaking his record)."

It's very nice of him for he has played long enough to know that records are meant to be broken but even if somebody does go past his tally, the cricket world will always remember Rohit as the undisputed king of sixes.

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    Aritra Mukherjee, who happens to be a journalist, is in an eternal relationship with food and sleep. He can, however, sacrifice both or at least the latter for his love-affair with cricket. 'He said,' 'he added,' 'he signed off' are some of his favourite phrases. When not juggling between food, sleep and cricket, he wastes time by surfing OTT platforms.

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