Mahendra Singh Dhoni led India to two World Cup titles, No. 1 Test rankings, and most number of wins under his belt. But on the flip side came a spate of overseas Test losses. Dhoni's tenure at the helm of India's cricket captaincy was nothing short of a roller-coaster ride, and it came to an end today.
The BCCI announced that Dhoni has retired from Test Cricket with immediate effect and Virat Kohli will be the captain of the Indian team for the fourth and final Test against Australia to be played in Sydney in January.
"MS Dhoni has decided to retire from Test cricket citing the strain of playing all formats of cricket," Sanjay Patel, BCCI secretary, said in a press release.
Critics said Dhoni was deserting a flailing team in the midst of a difficult tour in Australia. But cricketing legend Sunil Gavaskar disagreed.
"I don't agree with this view. I have been a captain and there is a time when the burden becomes just too much and you think the next man will do a better job. It may not be tactically, but the next captain may have better luck," he told NDTV. "Dhoni knew Virat Kohli was ready to step in and therefore his decision is not surprising," he said.
Other former players differed in their reasoning.
Former Test captain Chandu Borde said Dhoni could have decided earlier. "It came as a surprise, didn't it, that he quit midstream. It (decision to quit) could have been taken earlier. But perhaps he thought it was the right time to hand over the mantle to the next man," Borde said.
Former India captain Ajit Wadekar said his poor record in Tests overseas might have been a factor. "His performance as captain overseas in Test cricket has not been good," he told PTI. Dilip Vengsarkar, another former captain, said that he was surprised by Dhoni's decision to retire, but not by India's below-par performance overseas. Vengsarkar said Dhoni just did not have a bowling attack capable of dismissing rival teams twice away from home.
#Dhoniretires shot to the top of the Twitter trends on Tuesday.
Because the most surprising decisions came from this man and this is not an exception! #DhoniRetires
— Ankur Garhwal #8 (@ankurf1) December 30, 2014
— PVspeaks (@ChhotuGoldFlake) December 30, 2014
Captains leaves sinking ship and runs away. Not done MSD #DhoniRetires
— D Kunzru (@dkunzru) December 30, 2014
After the emotions subside, you'll know it was the right decision. Just that he could've told us & played that Sydney test! #DhoniRetires
— Srini Mama (@SriniMama16) December 30, 2014