An explanation of the Dhawan-Root-Smith ODI comparison doing rounds on Social Media

Shikhar Dhawan, Steve Smith and Joe Root
Shikhar Dhawan, Steve Smith and Joe Root. (Photo by Getty Images)

For the past few days, there have been pictures on social media that compare Shikhar Dhawan’s statistics with that of Joe Root and Steven Smith based on their performances after 75 ODIs. It was backed by some fans since Dhawan has been under scrutiny and has found it tough to retaining his place in the Indian ODI team. On the other hand, Smith and Root, who have a similar record in this format are probably their team’s best bet in the top order at the moment.

After a statistical analysis with an open perspective, the comparison between them can be quite conveniently termed baseless. Shikhar Dhawan, who made his debut way back in 2010, got to play in just 6 games before getting his first break in 2013 Champions Trophy. He entered the team as an aggressor and turned out to be far from that and had to retain his place based on a couple of timely knocks.


While Root and Smith bat who at No.3 or No. 4 have a totally different role to play. Root has the responsibility of giving stability to a batting line-up that has big hitters following him while the Australian skipper has the responsibility of batting long. Smith, who made his debut way back in 2010 as a leg-spinner had an average of mere 21 in his first 33 ODIs till 2013 but once he redeemed his career as a batsman there is no stopping him as he averages in mid-50s in last 4 years in ODIs.

Root had been batting at 4 and 6 in initial stages of his career but post-England’s CWC 2015 debacle, he got a chance to bat at No.3 and holds a role of building an innings irrespective of his pace along with the fellow batsmen who have to take care of the scoring rate.

Player Matches Runs Average Strike-rate % of team’s runs Team’s S/R
ShikharDhawan 76 3090 42.91 89.95 17.53 89.7
Steven Smith 94 3097 44.24 87.65 14.13 90.7
Joe Root 80 3149 46.30 85.61 16.96 89.9

Also, another prime aspect to be looked upon here is Root and Smith’s effectiveness has been growing while Dhawan has been coming down since he has been India’s leading run-getter in past two ICC tournaments.

A look at the 3 players’ metrics in the format since the last World Cup, post which there was even changes in field restrictions.

Player Matches Runs Average Strike-rate % of team’s runs Team’s S/R
Shikhar Dhawan 15 583 38.86 90.10 13.9 96.41
Steven Smith 36 1548 48.37 86.00 17.77 92.34
Joe Root 26 1347 58.56 93.60 18.74 104.73

On comparing both the tables, it is evident that Dhawan hasn’t upped his game in the past two years, unlike Smith and Root who definitely improved and have been scoring bulk of the runs for their teams.