Guwahati: It will be hard to watch Team India without the presence of MS Dhoni, now that the former captain has retired and will no longer play international cricket.
MS Dhoni brought an end to a glorious 16 years in international cricket on Saturday, through his Instagram handle at exactly 7.29 PM IST, and not surprisingly, the Lt. Colonel chose India’s Independence Day (August 15) to make the announcement.
Even though it has been over a year since Dhoni last played for Team India, and speculations surrounding his future in the sport have been doing the rounds since, fans were still hoping to see him one final time in India colours.
But the coronavirus pandemic might have thrown his plans down the drain and forced him to retire a bit earlier than he would have thought. Postponement of the T20 World Cup 2020 probably had a big part to play in his decision as well.
“Thanks a lot for your love and support throughout. From 1929 hours consider me as retired,” the 39-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman posted on his Instagram account on Saturday.
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When Dhoni burst onto the international scene in 2005, he was just a boy from Ranchi with long, coloured hair and the reputation of being a big-hitter, who had numerous flaws in his wicketkeeping.
But who knew that by the time he bids adieu to cricket, Dhoni would be known as one of the greatest wicketkeeper-batsman across formats and probably the greatest captain in one-day internationals for Team India.
Dhoni went on to become India’s most successful captain, leading them to World Cup triumphs in 2007 (T20), 2011 (ODI) and 2013 Champions Trophy, while they also became the top-ranked Test team under him in 2009.
As a batsman, Dhoni transformed himself into one of the best finishers of the game, famously illustrating it by securing India’s 2011 World Cup victory by hitting a six in the final against Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
His popularity also soared as he achieved more and more success in international cricket. The 2007 World T20 triumph changed the trajectory of his career and the graph kept going up, especially in white-ball cricket.
The immensely popular cricketer ends his ODI career having played 350 matches, scoring 10,773 runs and effecting 444 dismissals. He holds the record for most dismissals in T20 internationals with 91 in 98 matches.
Overall, Dhoni has amassed more than 17,000 international runs across formats, including 16 centuries, and more than 800 victims as wicketkeeper.
Dhoni’s fan base grew just as fast as his career. He is probably one of the few international cricketers who is loved and respected by fans from all over the world.
Not only did cricketers look up to Dhoni, fans also him as a source of inspiration because of how he conducted himself and played the game. Dhoni rarely lost his cool, remained calm in the toughest of situations and stayed away from controversies off the field.
Young cricketers picked up tricks of the trade by watching him play while fans got to learn life lessons from the legendary figure by witnessing him lead a simple life away from sport, who liked to completely switched off once he came out of the cricket field.
Even though he won every major tournament as captain, and is the owner of multiple records as wicketkeeper and batsman, Dhoni’s career still can’t be judged only on the basis of mere numbers.
But it’s now time to move. It will take time but we will have to move and get used to not having Dhoni around. Everybody knew this day was coming right from the time India exited the 2019 World Cup.
We knew Dhoni wasn’t going to carry on forever, and that his time was coming. Fans and cricket pundits also knew that 2020 was probably the final year in Dhoni’s career. But even then it is hard to digest Indian cricket without Mahendra Singh Dhoni.