Hunting in pairs: The Rohit Sharma-Virat Kohli camaraderie working well for India
The Rohit Sharma-Virat Kohli partnership has yielded tremendous results for India. (AFP Image)

Over the years, pairs have become an integral part of Indian cricket. Kapil Dev-Roger Binny, Javagal Srinath-Venkatesh Prasad, Sunil Gavaskar-Chetan Chauhan, Sachin TendulkarSourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag-Gautam Gambhir, Anil Kumble-Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj SinghMS Dhoni. These are some of the many dominating pairs that have headlined Indian cricket, and while all these cricketers have enjoyed tremendous individual success, the fact that they have also thrived in pairs cannot be overlooked.

So, think of the most formidable pair in Indian cricket currently, and the first two names that pop up in mind are that of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. The Indian captain and vice-captain are the two hottest commodities of Indian cricket at the moment, and if their numbers while batting together is to be glanced at, Rohit and Kohli sit comfortably in the pantheons of the most prolific partners in ODIs.

The numbers are proof. Against West Indies during the first ODI at Guwahati, Kohli and Rohit forged a massive 246-run partnership for the second wicket. While both struck a century each, their stand was India s highest for any wicket in a chase. It was also the fifth time the two batsmen have put on a double-century stand for India in ODIs, the maximum by any pair in the format. The Tendulkar-Ganguly and Mahela Jayawardene-Kumar Sangakkara pair are the second-most with three.

Batting together, in 64 innings, Rohit and Kohli have put on 3931 runs at an average of 65.51, the second-most by an Indian batting pair, behind Tendulkar and Ganguly (8227 runs in 176 innings). Next is the famous Yuvraj-Dhoni combination with 3105 runs in 67 innings. Average wise, overall, they are second to Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers, who, with 3111 runs in 45 innings, average 72.34.

Here comes another telling stat, which suggest that everytime these two players do well, India succeed. In 37 matches, where both have done well batting together, the Kohli-Rohit stand averages 84.1. In addition to the five double-century stands, Rohit and Kohli also make for 15 century partnerships between them. Once again, Tendulkar and Ganguly lead the list with 26, followed by Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan (20) and Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden (16). It is important to note than nine of these 15 century stands have come overseas.

Rohit and Kohli s 246-run partnership at Guwahati came in just 31 overs, implying that the rate at which they score while batting together is equally impressive. Kohli and Rohit have scored their runs at 6.20 per over. Individually too, Rohit and Kohli have shown the appetite to score big. Rohit has the most double centuries in ODIs (3) and owns six 150-plus scores in ODI cricket, the most by any batsman.

The rate at which Rohit and Kohli are scoring even if they are to play together for at least another four years given the kind of form they are in, expect these two batsmen to establish themselves as Indian cricket s all-time great batting pair.