End of an era as India faces T20 future without Kohli, Rohit

New Delhi, July,1: Indian cricket on Sunday savoured World Cup victory while also coming to terms with the T20 retirements of modern-day greats, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.

Both Rohit and Kohli called time on their T20 careers for India after the cricketing powerhouse edged South Africa to clinch its second T20 World Cup title in Barbados on Saturday. The two batting stalwarts have carried the dreams of a cricket-crazy nation for over 15 years and ended the shortest format at their peak. Kohli’s match-winning 76 earned him the player of the final award, and Rohit led the team from the front with three half-centuries in the tournament, in which India remained unbeaten.

“It has been so amazing playing with them for so many years. We all will miss them but… this is the best farewell we can give them,” Hardik Pandya, Rohit’s deputy in the tournament, said after the win.

Roger Binny, who was part of the 1983 World Cup-winning team and is now president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), termed the two stalwarts’ exit a “great loss”.

He said it would be tough to replace them immediately, despite India’s good pool of T20 players in the Indian Premier League.

Kohli, 35, won his second World Cup crown after the 2011 ODI win under M.S. Dhoni, who also led India to title victory in T20’s showpiece event in 2007 at the inaugural edition.

A rookie Rohit, now 37, was part of the first T20 triumph when India beat arch-rivals Pakistan in the final in Johannesburg.

The two stalwarts, who have 45,961 runs between them across three international formats, will stay on in Test and ODI cricket.

Dravid swansong

The title clash with South Africa was also the last match for outgoing coach Rahul Dravid, a former captain who left the international stage as a player without a World Cup win.

Dravid, 51, said he will miss Rohit as a person more than just as a captain and player who amassed runs and records.

Former India batsman Gautam Gambhir is widely reported to succeed Dravid as coach of the high-profile Indian team.

Gambhir, who remained a key part of India’s 2011 ODI World Cup win at home, coached IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders to their third title this year.

“There was speculation that some senior players will be sent off after Gambhir comes in (as coach), but both Rohit and Kohli ended on a high note,” former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar said on his YouTube channel.

“It was a good decision by both. Before anybody sacks them, or creates a doubt about their selection, a big player should decide their own fate.” Rohit succeeded Kohli as white-ball skipper in 2021 and became all-format captain months later with BCCI and fans getting uneasy over India’s global title drought since their Champions Trophy win in 2013.

Jadeja retires

Star India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja has announced his decision to retire from T20 internationals following India’s T20 World Cup 2024 triumph.

Following the suits of Kohli and Rohit, Jadeja has called it quits from T20 internationals, bowing out on a high with the T20 World Cup 2024 trophy.

“With a heart full of gratitude, I bid farewell to T20 internationals. Like a steadfast horse galloping with pride, I’ve always given my best for my country and will continue to do so in other formats,” Jadeja stated in his Instagram post.

“Winning the T20 World Cup was a dream come true, a pinnacle of my T20 International career. Thank you for the memories, the cheers, and the unwavering support.”

Jadeja, who made his T20I debut in 2009, represented India in 74 T20Is, taking 54 wickets and scoring 515 runs.

He was an integral part of six T20 World Cup campaigns, tasting success in his final one as India returned with the men’s T20 World Cup trophy after 17 years. Jadeja also confirmed that he would continue to represent India in other formats. (AFP)

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