Following captain’s footsteps: Suresh Raina retires from International cricket
New Delhi-Two-time World Cup-winning former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni retired from international cricket on Saturday, ending over one year of suspense and also an era during which his often unorthodox leadership and finishing skills became the stuff of legends.
The 39-year-old will, however, compete in this year’s IPL, which gets underway in the UAE from September 19 after being moved out of India due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Thanks a lot for ur love and support throughout. from 1929hrs consider me as retired,” Dhoni posted on his instagram handle.
The announcement came a day after he joined his Chennai Super kings teammates at the side’s home base for a short training camp ahead of the players’ departure to the UAE next week.
The BCCI sent out a statement, detailing each one of his historic achievements and lauding “a legacy that will be difficult to replicate.” Board president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah paid rich tributes.
“It is the end of an era. What a player he has been for the country and world cricket…He will finish with no regrets on the field,” said Ganguly.
“He is leaving the game richer from the time he joined,” added Shah.
The Board also stated that Dhoni “changed the face of Indian cricket with his calm demeanour, sharp understanding of the game and astute leadership qualities.”
His last outing in India colours was during the lost World Cup semifinal against New Zealand in July last year.
One of the best runners between the wickets was run out following a hard-earned 50 in that tense game, shattering Indian hopes and leaving him in a state of disbelief.
Ever since he went on a sabbatical after that match, speculation raged over his future but he stoically avoided a response for over a year.
The reticent man from Ranchi will, however, go down as one of the finest to have played the game for India, turning up for the country in a whopping 350 ODIs, 90 Tests and 98 T20 Internationals.
The last leg of his career was, however, marred by a drop in form, prompting several critics to question his resolve to continue.
But he nevertheless signs off as an ODI legend with 10,773 runs, averaging more than 50 despite batting between No.5 and 7 for a major chunk of his career.
In the Test format, from which he retired in 2014, Dhoni accumulated 4876 runs at an average of 38.09 and led India to more wins (27) than anyone else before him.
However, runs are not the parameter on which Dhoni’s career can be truly judged.
Considered a punter by some and a master strategist by several others, it was Dhoni’s captaincy, wondrous reading of match situations and the jaw-dropping hand-speed behind stumps that had the cricket world mesmerised.
A leader even after he gave up the official tag of the leader, Dhoni will be remembered as the nonconformist, who made risks look like well thought-out strategy.
Whether it was handing the ball to rookie Joginder Sharma in the final over of the 2007 World T20 or pushing himself ahead of man-in-form Yuvraj Singh in the 2011 50-over World Cup, Dhoni’s instincts rarely failed him.
For the record, India lifted the trophy on both occasions, propelling him to cult status in a country which remains hopelessly in love with all things cricket.
The IPL was also his happy hunting ground where he was the revered ‘Thala’, leading the Chennai Super Kings to three trophies.
The most significant of those titles came last season when the side made its return to the event after a two-year suspension for its official Gurunath Meiyappan’s role in the 2013 spot-fixing scandal.
CSK CEO Kasi Vishwanathan recently stated that the big-hitting batsman will continue to play for the franchise at least till 2022.
Dhoni spent the past year training with his unit in the Territorial Army, where he is an honorary lieutenant colonel, trying his hand at organic farming at his home in Ranchi, and occasionally hitting the nets to send the media and fans into a tizzy.
His larger than life persona was also brought alive on the celluloid by the late Sushant Singh Rajput-starrer M S Dhoni: The Untold Story.
The blockbuster film was a rare insight into one of the greatest cricketing minds of all time.
Rajput was found dead at his Mumbai residence in June and his family is currently demanding a CBI inquiry into the tragedy.
Following captain’s footsteps: Suresh Raina retires from International cricket
Suresh Raina, one of India’s prolific white ball players in the last decade and a half, announced his retirement from international cricket, following the footsteps of his favourite captain and mentor Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Raina’s message came minutes after Dhoni told his million of fans “consider me retired” on his Instagram page .
“It was nothing but lovely playing with you, @mahi7781 . With my heart full of pride, I choose to join you in this journey. Thank you India. Jai Hind,” Raina posted on his Instagram page.
The 33-year-old is among the few who scored centuries across formats having played 18 Tests, 226 ODIs and 78 T20 Internationals with nearly 8000 international runs.
His best moment was a crucial unbeaten knock in a tricky World Cup quarter-final against Australia during the triumphant 2011 campaign.
The many highlights of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s glittering career
As Mahendra Singh Dhoni bids adieu to international cricket, here is a look at the career highlights of India’s most successful captain, who led the country to two World Cup trophies.
December 2004: Dhoni makes his international debut against Bangladesh in an ODI at Chittagong.
October 2005: Promoted up the order to accelerate scoring, Dhoni smashes an unbeaten 183 off 145 balls, the then record of the highest individual score in ODI cricket in the second innings. Dhoni also wins Man of the Series award after India’s 3-0 triumph in the five-match rubber.
December 2005: Dhoni makes his Test debut against Sri Lanka in Chennai.
September 2007: Dhoni takes over the reins of ODI captaincy from Rahul Dravid.
September 2007: Dhoni equals Adam Gilchrist’s international record for most dismissals (6) in an innings in ODIs. Dhoni also becomes captain of the Indian squad for the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa. He leads a young Indian side to victory against Pakistan in the final. He takes the risk of picking an inexperienced pacer Joginder Sharma instead of Harbhajan Singh to bowl the last over that eventually pays off.
August 2008: Dhoni leads India to its first-ever bilateral ODI series victory in Sri Lanka.
August 2008: Dhoni wins the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award.
November 2008: Dhoni makes his debut as full-time Test captain of India during the fourth and final Test against Australia at Nagpur, replaces Anil Kumble who was injured in the third Test.
December 2008: Dhoni wins the ICC ODI Player of the Year honour.
March 2009: Dhoni leads India to its first bilateral ODI series victory in New Zealand.
April 2009: Dhoni honoured with the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honour.
December 2009: Under Dhoni’s captaincy, India tops the ICC Test cricket rankings for the first time.
December 2009: Dhoni retains his ICC ODI Player of the year award, becomes the first player to win it twice.
May 2010: Dhoni leads Chennai Super Kings to their maiden Indian Premier League title. CSK beat Mumbai Indians by 22 runs in Mumbai.
April 2011: Dhoni plays his most memorable match-winning unbeaten knock — 91 off 79 — balls against Sri Lanka in the World Cup final to help India lift the trophy after 28 years. He finishes the match with a huge six over long-on off Nuwan Kulasekara and wins the Man of the Match award.
May 2011: With Dhoni as captain, Chennai Super Kings retain the IPL, beat Royal Challengers Banglore by 58 runs in the final in Bengaluru.
November 2011: The Indian Territorial Army confers the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel on Dhoni.
March 2013: Dhoni becomes the most successful Indian Test captain, eclipses Sourav Ganguly’s record of 21 victories from 49 Tests.
June 2013: India wins the ICC Champions Trophy under Dhoni’s captaincy, beats England by five runs in the final. Dhoni becomes the first captain to win all three ICC trophies.
February 2013: Dhoni powers his way to his first double hundred in Tests. He scores 224 off 365 balls, most runs by an Indian wicketkeeper in an innings surpassing Budhi Kunderan’s 192.
March 2013: Under Dhoni’s captaincy, India beats Australia 4-0 at home for the first time in a Test series.
April 2018: Dhoni receives the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civillian honour.
May 2018: Under Dhoni’s captaincy, Chennai Super Kings win their third IPL title by defeating Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets.
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