MS Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket on Saturday after playing 90 Tests, 350 one-day internationals, and 98 Twenty20s for India.
A livewire both between and behind the stumps, Dhoni was renowned for his excellent judgment of a run between the 22 yards. However, despite his incredible running between the wickets, he has often been run-out on the biggest stage. In fact, Dhoni’s international career both started and ended with a run-out, one of the cruellest ironies. In his retirement post on Instagram, he added his debut duck and ended it with a frame of his getting run out in the World Cup semi-final.
The boy from Ranchi made his ODI debut in 2004. Coming in at number seven, he nudged a delivery from Bangladesh’ Mohammad Rafique to square leg and set off for a non-existent single, only to be sent back by his partner Mohammad Kaif. Unfortunately, he got run out for a duck.
His first ODI innings ended with a duck. However, he now leaves behind a rich legacy that will be difficult to replicate. Under his stewardship, India won the T20 World Cup in 2007, the 50-over World Cup in 2011 and the Champions Trophy in 2013. The team also reached the top of the test rankings in 2009 under his leadership.
Dhoni’s last bow:
Incidentally, in his last match in national colours, he was once again tragically run out during India’s World Cup sem-final game against eventual runners-up New Zealand in 2019. In the tense encounter at Manchester, India was in a spot of bother chasing 240 but Ravindra Jadeja and Dhoni restored the balance.
Towards the end, as the game went down to the wire, all hopes were on Dhoni’s shoulders. But fate had a cruel twist in store. After tucking a ball towards the leg-side, Dhoni set off for a quick double to retain the strike, but Martin Guptill’s moment of magic found the former Indian skipper short of his ground to dash any hopes of an Indian win.
Dhoni has not been one to talk about his regrets. However, later on, reflecting back at this run-out, he rued on not putting in a dive to avoid getting dismissed. Keeping emotions aside, it can be arguably said that MS Dhoni’s career has come full circle.
Master batsman Sachin Tendulkar says MS Dhoni’s calmness helped him become so successful. I hadn’t heard about him (MS Dhoni) until he got into the Indian team. I saw him for the first time in Bangladesh during a one-day tournament. I was having a discussion with Sourav (Ganguly) and told him that this guy has something special in him and has the ability to hit the ball. However, hitting the ball at first-class cricket level and hitting it at the international level are two different things.
He had hit two boundaries in that match, and I told Sourav, “Dada, he has that jhatka (whip) in his hand which he uses while hitting the ball. It was something special to see.”
It was his first outing with the Indian team. But the way he was hitting the ball, one could make out he was someone special.
He has been quiet with me all throughout. I had heard many stories that he will not come and say hello. Many found him rude, but we broke that barrier. His behaviour was understandable. It happens when a player is new in the team, and takes some time to open up.
It has been a fantastic journey, he had come from a small place and played 15 years for India. I wish him all the best after a fantastic career. I enjoyed all his innings, and to single out one innings will be hard for me.
Whatever is going on in his mind and what he thinks about his body, only he knows. He knows it better than anybody else. I would much rather look at his contribution to Indian cricket, it has been immense. He has given joy to so many people around the globe and inspired so many youngsters to play this sport.
I would like to congratulate him on a fantastic career. I enjoyed playing with him.