Rohit Sharma joins Virat Kohli in retiring from international T20s

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (AP) — Barely an hour after guiding India to a thrilling seven-run victory over South Africa in the Twenty20 World Cup final, Rohit Sharma joined fellow star batter Virat Kohli in announcing his retirement from international T20 matches.

“This was my last game as well,” Sharma said at the press conference after Saturday’s final which broke a 13-year long drought for India at major tournaments. “No better time to say goodbye to this format.”

Sharma, 37, is the format’s highest scorer with 4231 runs in 159 matches for India, with five centuries. Saturday’s breakthrough win was his second T20 World Cup success after winning the inaugural tournament in 2007.

He has played in every T20 World Cup tournament since, with only Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan doing likewise.

“I’ve loved every moment of this. I started my India career playing this format,” Sharma said. “This is what I wanted, I wanted to win the cup and say thank you.”

While Kohli struggled for form for the majority of the tournament before his man of the match innings of 76 off 59 balls in the final, Sharma finished as the second highest run-scorer with 257 runs at a strike rate of over 156, including game-turning half-centuries against Australia in the Super Eight and England in the semifinal.

Sharma said he would continue to be available to play tests and one-day internationals for India.

India’s last major tournament success was at the ODI World Cup it hosted in 2011. Since then they have endured a number of painful near misses, with the most grueling being the 50-over final on home soil in Ahmedabad to Australia in November.

They also lost the World Test Championship final to the same opponent at The Oval last summer.

“It was very emotional, I wanted this badly,” Sharma said. “I was very desperate for this in my life so I’m happy we crossed the line this time.”


AP cricket:

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