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Rohit Sharma opts to step back from T20 internationals; future uncertain: Report

In a significant development, Indian cricket captain Rohit Sharma is reportedly set to abstain from T20 Internationals, a decision he communicated before the onset of the Cricket World Cup, as revealed by sources within the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Rohit Sharma opts to step back from T20 internationals; future uncertain osf
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First Published Nov 22, 2023, 7:36 PM IST

According to reports, Rohit Sharma, India's ODI and Test captain, is not expected to participate in T20 Internationals going forward. Discussions about his future in the shortest format reportedly took place before the commencement of the 50-over Cricket World Cup. Since India's exit from the T20 World Cup semi-final in November 2022, Rohit has not featured in any T20 matches. In his absence, Hardik Pandya has predominantly led the Indian team in T20Is. The decision for Rohit to stay away from T20Is is said to be a voluntary one, with the 36-year-old skipper expressing his preference during extensive discussions with Ajit Agarkar, the chairman of selectors.

Rohit's focus on One Day Internationals (ODIs) and the ODI World Cup was cited as the reason for his absence from T20Is in the past year. The senior BCCI source emphasised that this decision was entirely Rohit's initiative. India now boasts four accomplished openers in Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ishan Kishan, and Ruturaj Gaikwad, all of whom have proven themselves in the Indian Premier League (IPL). However, the selectors or the BCCI may prompt Rohit to reconsider if the younger players fail to deliver.

Given the stage of his career, Rohit is likely aiming to manage his workload and minimise the risk of injuries for the latter part of his cricketing journey. The challenging schedule of playing three formats and participating in the IPL every year has led Rohit to prioritise red-ball cricket, especially with seven Tests scheduled between December 2023 and March 2024. Despite stepping back from T20Is, Rohit remains a crucial figure with a realistic chance of leading India to another World Test Championship (WTC) final in 2025, supported by his excellent form in the traditional format since becoming India's opener in 2019.

In terms of India's fast-bowling lineup, it is anticipated that Jasprit Bumrah will lead the attack in the two-Test series against South Africa. However, with five Tests against England scheduled early next year, the pace trio of Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Mohammed Siraj will be rotated during the series. Bumrah, who faced a prolonged break due to a lower back stress fracture, is reportedly in prime condition for his comeback. The BCCI source confirmed his readiness and expressed confidence in Bumrah's participation in the T20 World Cup if all progresses as planned.

Also Read: Kohli's closes in on Gill: India's star batter climbs ODI rankings after World Cup brilliance

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