MS Dhoni announces retirement from international cricketAugust 16, 2020
MS Dhoni, the former captain of the Indian cricket team, has announced his retirement from international cricket, bringing down curtains on a near 16-year-long storied career of one of the country’s greatest limited-overs cricketers. Dhoni retires as India’s most successful captain in limited-over internationals, having won three ICC trophies – 2007 T20 World Cup, 50-over World Cup in 2011 and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy – the only captain to do so.
Dhoni, 39, made the confirmation through a video on Instagram, its caption reading: “Thanks – Thanks a lot for ur love and support throughout. From 1929 hrs consider me as Retired.”
The announcement means that Dhoni’s last India game would remain the semifinal of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup in which India lost to New Zealand by 18 runs. It was his 350th ODI, in which he scored 50 off 72 balls before being run-out by a bullet throw from Martin Guptill in the deep. Incidentally, Dhoni was run-out in his first ODI as well.
Having retired from Test cricket in December of 2014 with 4876 runs from 90 matches, Dhoni carried on playing ODIs and T20Is. With 10,733 runs, Dhoni is fifth in the list of India’s all-time run-scorers in ODI behind Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid. His overall Indian numbers are staggering: 538 matches, 17,266 runs, 16 centuries, 108 fifties, 359 sixes, 829 dismissals.
Dhoni’s future was a hot topic of speculation since his sabbatical from cricket following India’s World Cup exit. Ever since the defeat to New Zealand, Dhoni did not play any form of cricket in the last one year, hinting he might have played his last in India colours. Dhoni, however, would be turning up in the IPL where he will captain the Chennai Super Kings in the tournament’s 13th season in the UAE.
Dhoni burst on to the scene as a 23-year-old batsman, making his India debut in an ODI against Bangladesh in December of 2004. The following year, he slammed his maiden ODI hundred – 148 vs Pakistan at Vizag which shot him to prominence. Later that year, he slammed 183 not out against Sri Lanka in Jaipur, his highest individual score in ODIs and the best by a wicketkeeper in ODIs. In 2006, Dhoni registered his maiden Test hundred (148 against Pakistan in Faisalabad, and played brutal knocks on the ODI leg to help India secure the five-match series 4-1.
After a disappointing 2007 World Cup in the West Indies, Dhoni was given charge of a young Indian team to play the first-ever T20 World Cup in South Africa, where India beat Pakistan in a riveting final to clinch the title. From there, Dhoni’s career as batsman and captain took off and reached unprecedented heights. In March of 2008, he led India to the CB tri-series win in Australia, beating the hosts in back-to-back finals.
Taking over captaincy in Tests once Anil Kumble retired in late 2008, in 2009, Dhoni shepherded India to the pinnacle of ICC Test rankings for the first time and a Test series win in New Zealand which established him as a force to reckon with. He overtook Sourav Ganguly as India’s most successful Test skipper and stretched his captaincy record to 27 wins from 60 matches, a record that stood until last year before Virat Kohli bettered it.
In 2010, under Dhoni, India won the Asia Cup, after 15 years, beating Sri Lanka comprehensively in the final. It was the perfect way to warm up for what was to come next. With the World Cup returning to India after 15 years, India were hot favourites to lift the most prized trophy in cricket, and with Dhoni leading, India realised a 28-year-long dream. Struggling for runs in the tournament, Dhoni saved his best of last. He hit an unbeaten 91, to help India chase down 275 against Sri Lanka. The winning six, the sight of Dhoni lofting Nuwan Kulasekara into the stands, triggering euphoria will stand out as perhaps the most iconic moment in Indian cricket.
Post the World Cup, Dhoni’s captaincy prowess, in Test matches, began waning. India were blanked 0-4 in England and Australia, but Dhoni revived his captaincy career by leading India to the ICC Champions Trophy win in 2013, and thus completing a trifecta of ICC trophies. Dhoni took India close to three more world titles, but couldn’t quite lead the team over the line. India finished runner-up in the 2014 World T20 in Bangladesh, followed by a semi-final finish in the 2015 World Cup and 2016 World T20. In January of 2016, Dhoni led India to a 3-0 whitewash over Australia in T20Is.
In January of 2017, Dhoni stepped down as India’s limited-overs captain, but continued playing on. In the second match since his announcement, Dhoni cracked a century – 134 against England at Cuttack – as India took the series 2-1. It would also prove to be his final ODI century. Dhoni was a pivotal part of India’s 2019 World Cup campaign under Kohli, where in the crunch semifinal clash against New Zealand – which was a two-day affair – he almost got India home. He walked off the field without showing much emotion, a trait that became synonymous with Dhoni throughout his career.