Currently, Rohit is at the helm of the Indian cricket team in the ongoing Asia Cup in Sri Lanka. He has emerged as the top run-scorer for India in the tournament, amassing an impressive total of 194 runs in four innings. What’s remarkable is his stellar batting average of 64.66 and a striking strike rate of 108.98, featuring three well-deserved half-centuries.
Talking on his YouTube channel, de Villiers underscored Rohit’s incredible journey in ODIs. He pointed out how Rohit initially made a slow start in the format but eventually became the second fastest player to reach the milestone of 10,000 runs in ODIs.
“Rohit was fourth slowest to 2,000 runs, but the second fastest to 10,000. How’s that for a comeback? I have a lot of respect for him,” he said.
“The first time I watched him play, I thought this guy has got something special to offer. What I like most about him – from a very young age, he’s always had a fighting spirit. He would not back down to anyone.”
Rohit is the sixth Indian to enter the 10,000 ODI runs club after Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, MS Dhoni and Rahul Dravid. He is also the second-fastest to do so after former skipper and current teammate Kohli.
De Villiers also recollected how Rohit took on fierce South African pacers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel during a Durban Test.
“I think of a Test match in Durban where he just wouldn’t stand back to Dale Steyn or Morne Morkel or any of our fast bowlers. He would make eye contact,” he said.
“If anyone chirped him, he would be right in their face, chest out. I always liked that.”
De Villiers also praised young India opener Shubman Gill, who has been on a roll at the Asia Cup alongside his opening partner and skipper Rohit.
“Very interestingly, he (Rohit) has had an incredible partnership with Shubman Gill. Two fighters at the crease is always a dangerous thing for the opposition.
“As an opening pair, they are averaging 87-odd (95) with a strike rate of 110. If they can do that for India in the World Cup…,” he said.
Gill is the second-highest run-scorer for India in the tournament, amassing 154 runs in four innings at an average of 51.33, including a couple of fifties and a top knock of an unbeaten 67.
India will be playing Sri Lanka in the final in Colombo on Sunday.
(With PTI Inputs)