India greats Kohli, Rohit retire from T20I after World Cup triumph

Rohit Sharma and Virat KohliBCCI

India greats Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma announced they had played their last Twenty20 internationals after India's thrilling seven-run win over South Africa in the T20 World Cup final in Barbados on Saturday.

Star batsman Kohli put a run of low scores behind him to make 76 as he was named player of the match, with the 35-year-old saying afterwards: "This was my last T20 World Cup, and this is what we wanted to achieve.

"One day you feel you can't get a run, then things happen. God is great, and I got the job done for the team on the day it mattered.

"Now or never (that was my) last T20 for India, wanted to make the most of it. Wanted to respect the situation rather than force it."

Kohli, pressed on whether he had played his last T20 international, added at the presentation ceremony: "This was an open secret, it's time for the next generation to take over, some amazing players will take the team forward and keep the flag waving high."

Former India captain Kohli, one of the outstanding batsmen of his generation, scored more on Saturday than he had in the rest of the tournament.

Prior to the showpiece match at the Kensington Oval, he had managed just 75 runs in seven innings during the competition.

"No better time"

Rohit who opened the innings alongside Kohli, had been the team's form batsman leading into the final with 248 runs, including three fifties, at an average of over 41.

He departs the format as the highest ever scorer in T20 internationals with 4,231 runs -- Kohli is second with 4,188 runs.

Rohit's five centuries in T20 internationals are unmatched and he has also won two T20 World Cup titles: winning the first edition as player in 2007 and now as captain in 2024.

"This was my last (T20i) game as well. There is no better time to say goodbye to this format," Rohit told the post-game press conference.

"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," he said.

"I wanted this badly. Very hard to put in words. It was a very emotional moment for me. I was very desperate for this title in my life. I'm happy that we eventually crossed the line," he said.

While Rohit has been the dominant India batsman in this tournament, where Kohli has struggled for runs, it was a case of role reversal on Saturday, with Rohit out for nine as India slumped to 34-3.

Kohli, however, rebuilt the innings during a stand of 72 with Axar Patel (47) that helped take India to 176-7, before a superb bowling and fielding display restricted South Africa to 169-8.

"None of us doubted him, we know his quality," said Rohit of Kohli, who bowed out of T20 internationals with 4,188 runs in 117 innings, including one hundred and 38 fifties, at an average of nearly 49.

"He has been at the top of his game for 15 years now. Big players will step up in big occasions and he played a crucial knock today.

"It was a team effort to get to that total but we knew we needed someone to bat time and he did that perfectly, using all his experience," added Rohit.

The game also marked the final match in charge for India T20 coach and former skipper Rahul Dravid, who was bounced in the air by the team during the celebrations.

"I'm very happy for Rahul, he has done so much for Indian cricket, including when he was playing and now coaching," said Rohit.

"He has worked so hard with this time for three years, supported the team a lot and undersstood what the boys needed," he aded.