World Cup-winning captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket on India's 74th Independence Day, Saturday (August 15).
Dhoni, 39, took to Instagram to announce his retirement and wrote:
"Thanks a lot for ur love and support throughout.from 1929 hrs consider me as Retired (sic)", read the post of the formal announcement.
View this post on Instagram
Dhoni, who made his international debut in 2004, featured in 90 Tests, 350 ODIs and 98 T20 Internationals.
Under his leadership, India won three major ICC tournaments - the 2007 World T20, 2011 World Cup and the Champions Trophy 2013.
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said, "It's is the end of an era."
"What a player he has been for the country and world cricket. His leadership qualities have been something which will be hard to match, especially in the shorter format of the game. His batting in one-day cricket in his early stages made the world stand up and notice his flair and sheer natural brilliance. Every good thing comes to an end and this has been an absolutely brilliant one. He has set the standards for the wicketkeepers to come and make a mark for the country. He will finish with no regrets on the field. An outstanding career; I wish him the best in life," Ganguly, who played a pivotal role in the rise of Dhoni career added.
Dhoni, who made his ODI debut in December 2004, burst on the scene when he smashed an unbeaten 148 - in his fifth ODI - against Pakistan in Visakhapatnam. Overall, he hit 10,773 runs in the 50-over format, including 10 centuries and 73 fifties. His highest individual score (183*) came against Sri Lanka at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur in 2005.
He took over the ODI captaincy from Rahul Dravid in 2007. It’s still unclear whether Dhoni was the reason behind Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid’s exclusion from the ODI side, the decision did turn out to be a courageous one as India registered their maiden tri-series (involving Australia and Sri Lanka) win Down Under.
In the years to come, Dhoni’s India won ODI series in West Indies (2009), New Zealand (2009), England (2014), Sri Lanka (2008, 2009 and 2012). Also, one of India’s seven Asia Cup triumphs came under Dhoni in 2010.
Dhoni’s highest individual Test score of 220 came versus Australia in Chennai Test in 2013. His 326 runs in that series proved vital in India securing a 4-0 whitewash of Australia. Under his captaincy, India were the No.1 Test side for 18 months starting December 2009.
However, post the 50-over World Cup win in 2011, which Dhoni sealed with a timely 91, India faced a tough phase as they kept losing in unfamiliar conditions.
After eight straight Test defeats away from home (in England and Australia), Dhoni the captain came under immense pressure, which was accentuated by a 2-1 home series loss to England in 2012-13, the first time India had lost at home in more than eight years.
Dhoni ended his Test career in 2014 with 4,876 runs at an average of just over 38, and six centuries. He captained India to 27 wins in the format.
Dhoni continued to lead India in the shorter formats. After failing to win a single game during the tour of Australia in 2015, India put on an outstanding show in the 2015 World Cup - reaching the semi-final before losing to eventual champions Australia. A year later, India won the Asia Cup T20 in Bangladesh but exited the World T20 in the semis, at home.
He gave up the limited-overs captaincy in January 2017. In the 2019 World Cup, Dhoni scored 273 runs in 10 matches at an average of almost 46, but his spot in the team was a source of constant debate. Even Sachin Tendulkar questioned the intent he showed during his innings against Afghanistan. India skipper Virat Kohli though said the dressing room retained full confidence in Dhoni.
In the IPL, Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings to three titles and five runner-up finishes.
The IPL spot-fixing scandal of 2013 was perhaps the darkest chapter in Dhoni’s otherwise illustrious playing career. When the scandal rocked the Indian cricket in 2013, Dhoni's silence raised several eyebrows. He didn’t utter a single word even though CSK and Rajasthan Royals were later suspended for two years (2015-17).
Later, Dhoni was accused by a prosecution lawyer of ‘not being entirely honest’ with the investigators. He finally opened up on the incident when Hotstar made a documentary after CSK's successful comeback in IPL 2018.
"2013 was the most difficult phase in my life; I was never depressed as much as I was then. The closest was the 2007 World Cup when we lost in the group stages. But all said and done, 2007 happened because we did not play good cricket," Dhoni had said.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine