Indian cricket has been fortunate enough to have got the services of some of the best batsmen to have played the game. The likes of Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and now Virat Kohli have been considered as the best in their era. Also, India has the most number of batsmen with an aggregate of 10,000 runs in ODI cricket (5 – Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly, MS Dhoni, and Virat Kohli).
While batsmen like Sachin, Rohit, Kohli, and Sehwag made certain batting positions their own, others like Dravid and Dhoni floated in the middle order depending on match situations and team compositions.
Here we look at the highest individual score for each batting position by Indian batsmen in ODI cricket:
Opening – Rohit Sharma (264) v Sri Lanka, 2014
The man with the most 150+ scores in ODI cricket, Rohit Sharma has 3 double hundreds to his name (no other batsman has got more than one). His second double ton, 264* off 173 balls against Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens in 2014, remains the highest individual score in ODI cricket. In the mammoth innings which consisted of 33 fours and 9 sixes, Rohit scored more than 65% of India’s total and 13 more than the opposition total.
Number 3 – MS Dhoni (183*) v Sri Lanka, 2005
The long-haired MS Dhoni in his initial days was a six-hitting machine who, with his unorthodox batting, took the attack to the opposition. Promoted to number 3 while chasing a target of 300, Dhoni made a mockery of Sri Lankan attack as he scored 183* off 145 balls, which included 15 fours and 10 sixes (a record for most sixes in an innings then). Contributing more than 60% of India’s total, Dhoni’s innings remains the highest individual score for a wicket-keeper in ODI cricket.
[MS Dhoni’s 183* is chosen over Virat Kohli’s 183 because Dhoni stayed unbeaten in the innings]
Number 4 – Mohammad Azharuddin (153*) v Zimbabwe, 1998
The former India skipper scored a brilliant 153* off 150 balls against Zimbabwe in Cuttack in 1998. Coming in at a pressure situation when India were 2 wickets down with 8 runs on the board, Azharuddin hit 17 fours and 1 six. The knock involved a scintillating unbeaten fourth-wicket partnership of 275 with Ajay Jadeja. India won the game by 32 runs despite a gutsy hundred by Grant Flower.
Number 5 – Yuvraj Singh (139) v Australia, 2004
Player of the tournament in India’s victorious campaign in 2011 World Cup, Yuvraj played his career-best knock of 139 off 122 balls against Australia at Sydney in 2004. The knock consisting of 16 fours and 2 sixes, involved a partnership of 213 with VVS Laxman. Despite putting 296 on board, India lost the game by 2 wickets by D/L method.
Number 6 – Kapil Dev (175*) v Zimbabwe, 1983
One of the best knocks played in ODI cricket, India’s World Cup-winning captain scored a blitzkrieg 175* off 138 balls. His knock continued as the highest individual score in ODI cricket for a long while. Coming in at 17/5, Kapil Dev smashed 16 fours and 6 sixes as he contributed more than 65% of the total. This was also the first ODI century by an Indian. The knock helped India recover from a nightmarish start to win by 31 runs.
Number 7 – MS Dhoni (113*) v Pakistan, 2012
One of the best ODI knocks by MS Dhoni came when he walked in to bat against Pakistan at Chennai in 2012. India were reeling at 29/5 at the end of 10 overs on a slow pitch and sluggish outfield. Starting with caution, Dhoni accelerated in the last 10 overs to finish at 113* off 129 balls. One of the toughest knocks in Dhoni’s career where he showed both facets of his game, this innings involved 7 fours and 3 sixes and a lot of running. India, however, could not manage to win as Pakistan won by 6 wickets.
Number 8 – Ajit Agarkar (67*) v Zimbabwe, 2000
An underrated batsman throughout his career, Ajit Agarkar played many useful knocks for India. His 67* off just 25 balls at a strike rate of 268 came against Zimbabwe in 2000 at Rajkot. The unbelievable hitting included 7 fours and 4 sixes. He also scored the fastest fifty by an Indian in ODI en-route his knock, a record which is yet to be broken. Agarkar picked 3 wickets in the game as India won by 31 runs.
Number 9 – Jai Prakash Yadav (69) v New Zealand, 2005
The seam-bowling all-rounder who played just 12 games between 2002 and 2005, JP Yadav scored a gutsy knock of 69 off 92 balls against New Zealand at Bulawayo in 2005. Having reduced to 44/8 while chasing 216, India were rescued by a 116 run partnership between Yadav and Irfan Pathan but ultimately fell short by 51 runs. The valiant knock included 11 fours and 1 six.
Number 10 – Irfan Pathan (50) v New Zealand, 2005
Once considered by many as the next Kapil Dev of Indian cricket, Irfan Pathan showed enough signs of his batting potential. One of his outstanding knocks included a gutsy 50 against New Zealand at Bulawayo in 2005. Pathan came in when India were 44/8 chasing 216 and formed a crucial partnership of 116 with JP Yadav. Though his knock including 3 fours and 1 six could not pull off a win, it gave enough confidence to the management to try Irfan as an all-rounder.
Number 11 – Javagal Srinath (30) v South Africa, 2000
Number 11 remains the only slot where no Indian has scored a fifty. The highest score by a number 11 by an Indian is under the name of one of the best pacers ever produced by India, Javagal Srinath. His knock of 30 off 58 balls came against South Africa at Sharjah in 2000, which included 3 fours and 1 six. After a terrible start where India lost 9 wickets for 102, Srinath stitched a partnership of 62 with Kumble to take India to 164, which South Africa chased down with 10 wickets remaining.