Rohit Sharma’s 17-year journey in T20Is ends with a dream run at the 2024 T20 World Cup.

Only 9 men in the history of T20 cricket can call themselves T20 World Cup winners twice over. Of these, 8 men were part of the West Indian sides that won in 2012 and 2016 - a four-year cycle that saw the team from the Caribbean boss the format.

The ninth man made his international debut during the inaugural T20 World Cup, and played an important role in helping India win the trophy. Rohit Sharma batted only 3 times in the 2007 T20 World Cup, but he was unbeaten on each occasion. His 50* in his maiden international innings saw him win Man of the Match against South Africa. A crucial 30* vs Pakistan in the final - India’s second-best score of the innings - ensured India had a defendable score. 

That young lad who played a couple of spirited innings and tasted instant success in the 2007 edition has had to wait 17 years before lifting the trophy again. This time, he did so as the captain. Post this historic win, Rohit Sharma announced his retirement from T20Is, marking the end of an incredible journey in the shortest format of the game.

Rohit has proven to be an invaluable member of the team throughout his T20I career. The first half of his career had flashes of brilliance - such as his knock against Australia in the 2010 T20 World Cup where he scored 79* in an innings where the next best score for India was 13. 

Post his move to the top of the order, the floodgates truly opened. Rohit's stats before he started opening were decent, especially for the early years of T20 cricket: An average of 28.29 and strike rate of 126.24 across 27 innings. 

As an opener, though, Rohit was unparalleled. The average jumped to 32.60 while the strike rate ballooned to 143.02. In 2015, he became the second Indian cricketer after Suresh Raina to score a century in T20Is, achieving the feat against South Africa. He would go on to add four more centuries to his kitty, ending his career with the joint most T20I centuries, tied with Glenn Maxwell. But Rohit also has 32 fifties, comfortably clear of Maxwell’s 11. 

In 2017, Rohit hit a century off just 35 deliveries against Sri Lanka, tying the then-record for fastest T20I century with David Miller. It remains the joint fastest T20I century against a full member nation. 

Rohit Sharma's records in T20Is are remarkable. He holds the record for the most runs in T20Is (4231), a testament to his consistency and longevity. He was the first cricketer to hit 200 sixes in T20Is and has hit over 600 sixes across all formats, the most by any cricketer. Additionally, he holds the record for hitting the most sixes as an opener in T20Is (184). Rohit is also the only Indian cricketer to have played in all editions of the T20 World Cup since its inception in 2007, showcasing his endurance and adaptability over the years.

Rohit's captaincy has been as stellar as his batting. He led India to victory in the 2018 Nidahas Trophy when regular skipper Virat Kohli was unavailable. Named the full-time skipper after the 2021 T20 World Cup, Rohit became the first captain to win 50 T20I matches. The 2024 T20 World Cup win was the pinnacle of his captaincy career. After the disappointment of the 2023 ODI World Cup, he focused on the 2024 T20 World Cup, and his efforts paid off.

Following the 2022 T20 World Cup Semi-Final, Rohit told Dinesh Karthik that they needed to play differently, and he backed his words with actions. He played one of his best T20I innings, scoring 92 off just 41 balls against Australia to virtually knock them out of the tournament. Continuing his form, he scored 57 off 39 deliveries on a tough Guyana pitch in the semi-final against England.

In the 2024 T20 World Cup final, although his contribution with the bat was modest, his captaincy was exceptional, especially towards the end of the game, where he effectively managed the pressure against South Africa. His strategic acumen and calm demeanor under pressure were instrumental in guiding India to victory. The moment India won the World Cup, the emotions were palpable. The iconic image of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli celebrating together will be cherished by fans for years to come as both legends retired after this memorable victory.

Rohit's influence extended beyond his statistics and records. He inspired a generation of cricketers with his performances, leadership, and work ethic. His journey from a young kid playing in the maidans of Mumbai to leading India to a World Cup victory is a story of dedication, perseverance, and excellence. As he bids farewell to T20Is, the legacy he leaves behind will continue to inspire future generations of cricketers and fans alike.