Two of India’s greatest ever cricketers – Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma – announced their T20I retirements on Saturday, after the side’s second T20 World Cup win. While Kohli announced his retirement minutes after the historic triumph, India captain Rohit Sharma announced it in the official post match press conference.  Rohit, who played a crucial role in India’s triumphant campaign, confirmed that he would continue to represent India in ODIs and Tests.

Rohit, whose searing 41-ball 92-run knock in the Super 8s clash against Australia would be remembered for years to come, said he was ‘desperate’ for the title.

“This was my last game as well. No better time to say goodbye. I wanted this (trophy) badly. It’s very hard to put in words,” Rohit told the post-match press conference after ending India’s over-a-decade long title drought. “This what I wanted and it happened. I was very desperate for this in my life. Happy that we crossed the line this time,” he added.

His announcement came on the heels of India’s second T20 World Cup title, a victory that brought immense joy and pride to the nation.

His retirement marks the end of an illustrious T20I career during which he became the format’s highest scorer, amassing 4231 runs in 159 matches. He also holds the record for the most centuries in T20 internationals, with five to his name. His T20I journey began with the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, where he was a key player in India’s first title win. Now, as captain, he has led India to their second title, further cementing his legacy.

The final match against South Africa was a nail-biter, with India defending a target of 176 runs. The Proteas, needing 30 runs from the last 30 deliveries, appeared to have the upper hand. However, India’s bowlers, led by Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, and Arshdeep Singh, held their nerve in the crucial moments. Pandya, in particular, shone in the final over, successfully defending 16 runs and sealing a dramatic seven-run victory for India.

This triumph was particularly special for Rohit, who had experienced both highs and lows in his cricketing career. The win was a testament to his leadership, resilience, and unwavering determination. Reflecting on his journey, Sharma said, “I’ve loved every moment of this. I started my India career playing this format. This is what I wanted, I wanted to win the cup.”

His retirement follows that of his long-time teammate, Virat Kohli, who also announced his departure from T20 internationals after the World Cup. Together, Sharma and Kohli have been pillars of Indian cricket, their contributions instrumental in numerous victories over the years.

With IANS and PTI inputs

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