Post T20 World Cup win euphoria, India look to future without Kohli, Rohit and Jadeja

New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) As fans and the cricket ecosystem in India continue to revel in the joy of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 victory, they are also coming to terms with Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Ravindra Jadeja announcing their retirements from the format on a high.

Shortly after India edged South Africa by seven runs to clinch its second T20 World Cup title at the Kensington Oval in Barbados on Saturday and ended a 13-year drought for a global championship title, Kohli and Rohit bowed out from the format, with Jadeja following the same route on Sunday.

Both Rohit and Virat had been the fulcrum of the Indian batting line-up for more than a decade while Jadeja was the dependable spin-bowling all-rounder. The trio’s quick retirements give India the room to try out players and see who the best picks for a solid combination for the 2026 T20 World Cup are, which they are supposed to co-host alongside Sri Lanka.

But the riches of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and a robust domestic system mean India do have a good pool of T20 players to see who can fill in the huge shoes of Rohit, Virat, and Jadeja. Yashasvi Jaiswal, who was a part of the World Cup-winning unit at Barbados, Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, and Abhishek Sharma are the next in line opening options.

All four players are a part of India’s squad for the five-match T20I tour of Zimbabwe happening from July 6-14. India also has a T20I series against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, and England till February 2025, which gives the Ajit Agarkar-led selection committee ample room to try out various combinations and other players in the fray.

“If you look at the side which will be touring Zimbabwe, there is a lot of talent there. From Shubham Gill to Rinku Singh, Khaleel Ahmed, and Sanju Samson. So, the Indian team is going to dominate well.”

“Plus, there will be a lot of retirements around world cricket post this World Cup, and India will be the least affected. So, we are going to dominate, as for next 5-6 years, there will be no competition,” Biju George, the former India women’s fielding coach, told IANS.

Lalchand Rajput, the manager of the youthful Indian side that won the 2007 T20 World Cup in Johannesburg, told the IANS that youngsters are there to grab the vacant spots in the team but felt it will take time for them to grow into their vast shoes in the playing eleven.

“There will be challenges because you have lost the top three guys in Rohit, Virat, and Jadeja. But there will be somebody who will take up the challenge to fill in for them because we have got a lot of youngsters who are coming up.”

“We have people like Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, and Shubman Gill at the sidelines, who have to take the mantle forward. It will be difficult for anyone to fill their shoes immediately. But I am sure that over a period of time, definitely there will be some new players who would fill in for those three.”

In all probability, Jadeja’s retirement from T20Is means Axar Patel becomes the lead spin-bowling all-rounder in the side. In the T20 World Cup, Axar had outperformed Jadeja with bat, ball, and in the field to show that he’s now good enough to be an automatic starter in the format for India after lots of years of being an understudy to the veteran.

“With Jadeja retiring, Axar will get an extended run in the format. Some of the other left-hand spinners should also come through. It is high time now. Those three have been there and they have done it. Let them enjoy playing the rest of the time in cricket - IPL or other formats. I wish they play domestic cricket a little more,” concluded George, who’s the fielding coach for Delhi Capitals in IPL and WPL.



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