End of Dhoni’s roller-coaster ride as Test captain
Melbourne: Two World Cup titles, No. 1 Test rankings, most number of wins under his belt but on the flip side, a spate of overseas Test losses, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s tenure at the helm of India’s cricket captaincy was nothing short of a roller-coaster ride.
Read More: Dhoni retires from Tests series
The 33-year-old cricketer from Ranchi, who gave small town boys a chance to dream big, today surprised the cricket world with his sudden announcement of immediate retirement from Test cricket, making way for Virat Kohli to don the mantle of captaincy.
It all started for him with the 2007 World T20, and that was followed by a dream run in ODIs and Tests too, as he presided over India’s rise to the pinnacle of Test cricket from 2009-11.
Besides the triumph in the inaugural T20 World Championship, India also won the ODI World Cup in 2011 at home under his captaincy, breaking a 28-year-old jinx since the maiden triumph in 1983.
He, as well as the national team, went through on-field transition as well as off-field controversies surrounding the Indian Premier League 6 spot-fixing scandal that rocked Indian cricket.
If he had faced criticism over the controversies, Dhoni was also not spared when it came to his batting especially against top quality bowling on the fast and bouncy wickets away from home.
Overall Dhoni led India in 60 Tests, winning 27 of them and losing 18 with a success rate of 45.00. 14 matches had ended in draws. Under his captaincy, the team managed to win just six Tests on overseas while losing 15 and drawing nine.
In batting, he averaged 40.63 as captain, and totalled 3454 runs with a best of 224. He had hit five centuries as captain. The legendary Sunil Gavaskar had averaged 50.72 while leading the team.
Dhoni’s overall Test record stands at 4876 runs in 90 matches with 224 being the best-ever score in a single innings. He struck six tons in his Test career and 33 half centuries, averaging 38.09.
Nicknamed ‘Captain Cool’ for his calm demeanour in the face of challenging situations, Dhoni’s sudden retirement was complete shocker for the followers of the game given that he did not give hint of it even though he was addressing his final press conference as India’s Test captain.
With the exception of batting great Sachin Tendulkar, Dhoni remains among the most popular cricketers in India, his small-town background adding to his charm.
A ticket inspector with the Indian Railways before making it big on the cricket field, he earned followers for not just his daredevil leadership in the limited-overs format but also his unconventional looks and hairstyle.
“I will not say anything as I have nothing to say,” said Harbhajan, who is leading Punjab against Saurashtra in the ongoing Ranji Trophy group B match here.
Twitter world flooded with messages on Dhoni’s retirement
well done on a wonderful career in test cricket @msdhoni. Always enjoyed playing together. Next target 2015 WC my friend!!
— sachin tendulkar (@sachin_rt) December 30, 2014
Congrats Dhoni bhai on your wonderful journey of test cricket.. You will be surely missed
— Vinay Kumar R (@Vinay_Kumar_R) December 30, 2014
Former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi said Dhoni left the cricketing fraternity completely baffled with his sudden decision.
MSDhoni’s retirement in midst of test series leaves lot of us perplexed! But that’s his prerogative.I’d like 2 wish MSD Happy Retirement!!
— Bishan Bedi (@BishanBedi) December 30, 2014
— Saqlain Mushtaq (@Saqlain_Mushtaq) December 30, 2014
Former England skipper, Michael Vaughan heaped praise on Dhoni for the way he played the game and wished the new captain, Virat Kohli all the best.
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) December 30, 2014
Sri Lanka cricketer Russel Arnold felt that the Ranchi cricketer’s decision to bid adieu is a right one.
New era for India starting in the New Year… Full of surprises MSD but the right decision. Well Done MSD !! — Russel Arnold (@RusselArnold69) December 30, 2014