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

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados: Indian greats Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma announced they have played their final Twenty20 internationals after India’s thrilling seven-run victory over South Africa in the World T20 final in Barbados on Saturday.
Star batsman Kohli finished with a low score of 76 as he was named man of the match, with the 35-year-old saying afterwards: “It was my last World T20 and that’s what we wanted to achieve. .
“One day you feel like you can’t run, and then things happen. God is great and I got the job done for the team on the day that mattered.
“It was now or never (this was my last T20 for India), I wanted to make the most of it. I wanted to respect the situation, not force it.”
Kohli, pressed on whether he had played his last T20 international, added at the launch ceremony: “It’s been an open secret, it’s time for the next generation to take over, some amazing players are taking the team forward and swinging it high the flag. .”
Former Indian team captain Kohli, one of the outstanding batsmen of his generation, scored more on Saturday than he did in the rest of the tournament.
Before the showpiece match at Kensington Oval, he had scored just 75 runs in seven innings during the competition.
Rohit, who opened the innings alongside Kohli, was the team’s form batsman in the final with 248 runs, including three fifties, at an average of over 41.
He leaves the format as the all-time highest run-scorer in T20 Internationals with 4,231 runs – second only to Kohli with 4,188 runs.
Rohit’s five centuries in T20 internationals are unmatched and he has won two World T20 titles, first as a player in 2007 and as captain in 2024.
“It was also my last (T20i) game. There is no better time to say goodbye to this format,” Rohit said in the post-match press conference.
“I loved every moment of it. I started my Indian career with this format. That’s what I wanted, I wanted to win the cup,” he said.
“I really wanted this. It is very difficult to put into words. It was a very emotional moment for me. I really wanted this title in my life. I’m happy that we finally crossed the line,” he said.
While Rohit has been India’s dominant batsman in this tournament, where Kohli has struggled to progress, there was a role reversal on Saturday with Rohit out for nine as India slumped to 34-3.
But Kohli rebuilt the innings during Axar Patel’s (47) stand of 72, which helped India to 176-7 before excellent bowling and fielding restricted South Africa to 169-8.
“None of us doubted him, we know his quality,” said Rohit of Kohli, who scored 4,188 runs in 117 innings, including one hundred and 38 fifties, at an average of nearly 49 in T20 internationals.
“He’s been at the top of his game for 15 years now. Big players will step up on big occasions and today he played a decisive stroke.
“It was a team effort to achieve this result but we knew we needed someone to beat the clock and he did that perfectly using all his experience,” added Rohit.
The game also marked the last match for India’s T20 coach and former captain Rahul Dravid, who was bounced in the air by the team in celebration.
“I am very happy for Rahul, he has done a lot for Indian cricket, including when he was playing and now he is coaching,” Rohit said.
“He’s worked hard with that time for three years, supported the team a lot and understood what the boys needed,” he added.

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