The T20I format came into the spotlight after the 2007 World T20 in South Africa. India famously defeated Pakistan to lift the maiden T20 World Cup which gave birth to the Indian Premier League and the rest, as they say, is history. India has thus far played 107 T20 internationals with its first match coming way back in 2006 against South Africa at the Wanderers. The Men in Blue have won 1 T20 World Cup and finished as the runners-up of the tournament once as well.
India has won 69 out of those 107 T20Is while 2 have ended in no result. The IPL has played a huge role in the success of the Indian team in the shortest format and here are the top 5 players who have played the most T20 games for India at the international level:
#5 Yuvraj Singh – 58 Matches
Yuvraj Singh played the lead role for India at the inaugural World Cup and had the best strike rate for an Indian player in that tournament. Yuvraj is the only player who has smashed 6 sixes in an over in a T20I. He achieved this feat against England in the 2007 World Cup when he hit Stuart Broad’s all six deliveries outside the boundary line.
The Punjabi all-rounder has played 58 matches in his career thus far and has amassed 1,177 runs at a blistering strike rate of 136.38. Singh had the highest score of 77. He also scalped 28 wickets at an economy rate of 7.06 in the 31 innings where he rolled his arm for India. Yuvi last played a T20I for India in 2017 and has failed to make a comeback ever since.
#4 Virat Kohli – 62 Matches
Virat Kohli is the current skipper of the Indian T20I team and is the fourth most capped player in the T20I format for India. Kohli made his T20I debut in 2010 and has been a cornerstone of the Indian team ever since. The Delhite has played the role of a one-man army with the bat for the Indian side in the last three T20 World Cups.
He has scored 2,102 runs for India at an astonishing average of 48.88 and has the highest score of 90*. The medium pacer has also rolled his arm in 12 T20I innings and has 4 wickets to his name at a career best of 1/13. Virat is one of the fittest players of the sport and is one of the top fielders of the modern era. The Indian captain has also taken 32 catches in his 62 matches long T20I career.
#3 Suresh Raina – 78 Matches
Suresh Raina was among the 11 players who played for India in its first ever T20 international against South Africa in 2006. He was also the first Indian batsman to score a T20I century and till now remains the only Indian batsman to have scored a 100 in the T20I World Cup. Raina achieved this feat against South Africa in the 2010 ICC World T20.
Raina has scored 1,605 runs in his career at an average of 29.18 and has the highest score of 101. The Uttar Pradesh born all-rounder has also picked up 13 wickets in the 27 innings he has bowled his off-spin in, at an economy rate of 7.59. He has also captained India in 3 T20Is and has an undefeated record as a captain. Virender Sehwag is the only other Indian captain to have an undefeated record in while captaining India in T20Is.
#2 Rohit Sharma – 87 Matches
The current vice-captain of the Indian T20I team, Rohit Sharma is one of the few players to have played all the 6 World T20s. He was a part of the 2007 World Cup winning squad and has continued to be an integral part of the Indian T20 setup ever since. Rohit Sharma holds the record for the most T20I centuries for a batsman with 4 centuries to his name and also holds the record for the most T20I runs by an Indian batsman.
The Mumbaikar has played 87 matches for India and accumulated 2,207 runs at an average of 33.43 and has the highest score of 118. Rohit has also picked 1 wicket in his 87 matches long T20I career. He has also led the Indian team in 12 T20I matches with the Indian team emerging victorious in 11 of them.
#1 MS Dhoni – 93 Matches
Mahendra Singh Dhoni also was a part of the 2006 T20I against South Africa and was a constant in the Indian T20I team for the next 12 years. He led the Indian team to their only T20 World Cup in 2007 and holds the record for playing the most T20I matches for India both as a captain and a player.
He held the reins of the Indian team for almost a decade and helped the nation build a strong young force in the shortest format of the game. Though MS Dhoni could score only 1,417 runs in his 93 matches he had an envious average of 37.17. Dhoni scored 2 half-centuries in his T20I career but made name for himself donning the gloves behind the wickets. He took 54 catches and did 33 stumpings whilst breaking wicket-keeping records on his way.