Former India skipper MS Dhoni announced his retirement on Saturday (August 15) via an Instagram post. Under his leadership, India won the 2007 T20 World Cup, 2011 World Cup and 2013 Champions Trophy. India also became No. 1 in the ICC Test ranking for the first time under his captainship.
"Thanks a lot for ur love and support throughout.from 1929 hrs consider me as Retired," read the post.
However, the wicketkeeper-batsman didn't mention the formats he is retiring from. 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 for IPL 2020.
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.
He also earned the reputation of being one of the finest stumpers in the world. Dhoni finished with 829 dismissals across three formats in international cricket (634 catches, 195 stumpings), only behind Mark Boucher (998) and Adam Gilchrist (905).
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 a 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.
"It 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," said BCCI president Sourav Ganguly.
"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."
Meanwhile, CSK CEO Kasi Vishwanathan recently stated that the big-hitting batsman will continue to play for the franchise at least till IPL 2022.