'Rohit Sharma can play till 50': BCCI sent 'not finished' message amid belief that T20 World Cup is India captain's last | Crickit
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'Rohit Sharma can play till 50': BCCI sent 'not finished' message amid belief that T20 World Cup is India captain's last

May 13, 2024 02:45 PM IST

Rohit Sharma has been backed to play till he is 50, with Yograj Singh urging the BCCI to break free of the 'age' factor.

Rohit Sharma is 37. By the time the next World Cup comes around – the T20 World Cup in 2026 – he will be 39. Hence, in all probability, the upcoming T20 World Cup in 2026 could be his last shot at tasting WC glory. Rohit has played a total of 11 World Cups – eight T20s and three ODIs, having lifted the ultimate prize once – in his first attempt, when India won the 2007 T20 World Cup. He came close in 2015, 2016 and 2019, only to lose in the semi-finals, and then fell short by a whisker just last year.

Rohit Sharma is 37 and not enjoying the best of forms. (ANI)
Rohit Sharma is 37 and not enjoying the best of forms. (ANI)

Rohit still possesses the burning desire to continue till the 2027 World Cup in South Africa, but his determination alone can't get the job done. Form and fitness are two major factors in determining how long a player can last, and historically, in Indian cricket, once a player nears 40, the general belief is that he is way past his prime. Sachin Tendulkar played till 40, and MS Dhoni till 39, but not before fingers were pointed at them for their erratic form. And Rohit, if he plans to continue for another World Cup after this, also carries that risk.

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Having said that, Yograj Singh, the father of Yuvraj Singh, has urged the BCCI to break free of the 'age-factor' mindset and requested to consider Rohit Sharma for as long as his form and fitness hold up. Yograj, who played one Test and six ODIs for India in 1980-81, believes Rohit is one of the rare players for whom fitness has never been the dealbreaker – ala Virender Sehwag – and that the India captain can continue playing for India until he is 50.

"This talk about age, that someone is these many years old… I have never understood it. What is wrong if you are fit at 40, 42 or even 45, and if you are performing? In our country, people believe that once you're 40, you're old, it's time to have kids, you're done. The truth is that you are not finished," Yograj told Sports18 in an interview.

"Mohinder Amarnath was 38 years old when he won India the World Cup (he was 33). He was the Player of the Match in the final. So, I feel that in Indian cricket, the age factor should be scrapped once and for all. Rohit Sharma and Viru [Virender Sehwag] are two such great players who have never thought about fitness and training. If he does, he can play till he is 50."

The next 18 months hold plenty of significance for Rohit as both captain and player. After the T20 World Cup, India's next big assignment is the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, for which they will be touring Australia towards the end of this year to play five Tests. The Champions Trophy is lined up next year, along with the World Test Championship final, provided India qualify. The T20 World Cup 2026 is too far a bridge to cross at the moment, as is the 2027 World Cup. Currently in the middle of a form slump – 349 runs from 13 matches – Rohit needs to find back his mojo to give India a chance at the World Cup.

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