The legendary Indian wicketkeeper batsman and former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni declared his retirement from international cricket on Saturday. “Thanks a lot for ur love and support throughout. From 19:29 hrs consider me as retired,” Dhoni said in his Instagram post.
Speculation on his international future had been going on since the 2019 World Cup, where he tried valiantly to push the team past the finish line against New Zealand in the semi-final on July 10.
He had not made himself available for selection since then, keeping fans and the national team guessing about his future plans.
Dhoni’s announcement on Saturday brings to an end a remarkable 16-year international career where he not only became one of the greatest wicketkeeper batsmen of all time but also the most successful captain in the game.
Dhoni had already quit Tests in 2014 to concentrate on limited overs cricket and India’s exit from the 2019 World Cup at the semi-final stage was widely considered the end of his international career.
But it was a career like no other. Dhoni scored more than 10,000 runs in ODIs and led the men in blue to the 50-over World title in 2011. Victory at the 2007 World T20 was the first major milestone of the Dhoni era and he also took the team to the top of the world rankings in Test cricket, while also securing the 2013 Champions Trophy in England.
With the Indian Premier League title also in his cabinet, Dhoni retires as the only captain to have won every major trophy in cricket.
“It is the end of an era. What a player he has been for the country and world cricket,” BCCI president and Dhoni’s former team-mate Sourav Ganguly said.
“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 added.
The present Indian captain Virat Kohli, who, along with Dhoni has built up several international records, said it was a privilege to have played alongside a legend of the game. “Every cricketer has to end his journey one day, but still when someone you’ve gotten to know so closely announces that decision, you feel the emotion much more. What you’ve done for the country will always remain in everyone’s heart but the mutual respect and warmth I’ve received from you will always stay in mine. The world has seen achievements, I’ve seen the person,” Kohli said on Twitter.
The ever hero legend of world cricket and former Indian captain Sachin Tendulkar also wished him good luck through a Tweet.
However, Dhoni will continue in his journey with bat and ball for Premier leagues. The 39-year-old has been been training with the Chennai Super Kings for the Indian Premier League in the UAE. The team’s chief executive Kasi Vishwanathan stated that Dhoni will lead the Super Kings this year in the UAE.
Suresh Raina, another leading Indian batsman also declared his retirement from international format of crickets, a few minutes after Dhoni had declared his.