Rohit Sharma's T20I departure marks a new era for Team India

Rohit Sharma is likely to step away from the shortest format of the game in the future. This means that he might not play the T20 World Cup 2024 in the West Indies and UAE

Sarah Andrew
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Rohit Sharma (Source: Twitter)

As India's ODI World Cup 2023 journey concludes with a disappointing loss, the spotlight now turns to the future plans of the team's captain, Rohit Sharma. Unlikely to feature in T20 Internationals anymore, Rohit had deliberated on his T20 future before the World Cup commenced. With the tournament now concluded, it's time to assess the road ahead.

At 36, managing the rigors of playing three formats and the IPL annually will become a daunting task for Sharma. His retirement from T20Is also leaves a big void in India’s batting line-up, especially at the top of the order. The right-hander has been India’s most successful opener in T20Is, scoring 3853 runs in 148 matches at a strike rate of nearly 140. He also holds the record for the most centuries (four) and the highest individual score (118) in T20Is. The Mumbaikar has been instrumental in India’s victories in the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, the Asia Cup in 2016, and the Nidahas Trophy in 2018.

India's pool of openers—Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ishan Kishan, and Ruturaj Gaikwad—all proven IPL performers, presents a promising yet untested lineup to fill the big man's shoes. However, if the younger talent falters, the selectors might request Rohit to reconsider his stance.

With seven Tests scheduled between December 2023 and March 2024, Rohit's primary focus will shift towards red-ball cricket. Rohit hasn't participated in a T20I since India's T20 World Cup semi-final exit in November 2022. During this period, Hardik Pandya has predominantly led the Indian T20 side. At this stage in his career, Rohit is prioritizing workload management and aiming to minimize the risk of injuries for the latter part of his illustrious career.

Captain's decision: Rohit Sharma opts for Test dominance!

Despite stepping away from T20Is, the two-time World Champion leaves behind an impressive legacy in the format. Having played 148 T20Is, the Mumbai Indians player in the IPL amassed 3853 runs at a striking rate of nearly 140, including four centuries. While his T20 journey takes a backseat, Rohit still harbors realistic aspirations of leading India to another World Test Championship (WTC) final in 2025. His stellar form in Test cricket since taking up the opening role in 2019 positions him as a crucial asset for India's red-ball ambitions.

A senior Board official clarified, "It is not a new development. Rohit hasn't played any T20Is in the past year as the focus was on the ODI World Cup. He had extensive discussions with chairman of selectors Ajit Agarkar in this regard. He has himself volunteered to stay away from T20Is. It has completely been Rohit's call."

Rohit Sharma Suryakumar Yadav Hardik Pandya Indian Cricket Team T20