Mahendra Singh Dhoni, better known by his initials, MS Dhoni, is universally revered as one of cricket’s greatest living legends. On August 15, 2020, a historic day in cricket, the world watched as an era came to a close. In an official statement, Dhoni, the former captain of the Indian cricket team, announced his retirement from the sport. In the cricketing world, this news hit like a tonne of bricks. With the same cool composure that marked his whole career, he walked away from the game.
His last game took place on July 19, 2019, at Manchester’s historic Old Trafford Cricket Stadium on the day when India lost to New Zealand in the World Cup semi-finals. After a devastating loss, all eyes turned to MS Dhoni and the Indian squad. After getting sent off for 50, his return to the locker room was a metaphor for his whole career. Slumping off the pitch with his head and shoulders hunched, the whole press box erupted into applause for the man who had done so much for Indian cricket. Cricket fans all across the globe will never forget that moment, a touching goodbye even if it wasn’t formally announced.
Dhoni’s time spent playing cricket at the international level has been remarkable. In 2004, when he got out in his first game, it all started. He rose from his meagre origins to become a legendary character in cricket’s history. Under his leadership, India won the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, the 2010 and 2016 Asia Cups, and the icing on the cake, the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup. They also won the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013.
It’s quite doubtful that anybody else will ever achieve what he did in his career: being the first skipper to win all three main ICC titles. Dhoni’s leadership was distinguished by his smart comprehension of the game, his ability to remain calm under intense pressure, and his sharp tactical acumen. In the Indian Premier League, he was known as “Captain Cool” and “Thala” for his finishing skill with the bat, which often rescued India from perilous circumstances.
MS Dhoni Emotionally Recalls His Hidden Retirement Decision After India’s 2019 World Cup Exit
Dhoni’s international cricket career waned when his team was eliminated from the World Cup. He was noticeably left out of the India sides that toured the West Indies and played South Africa and Sri Lanka at home in a bilateral series. Fans of the sport were counting down the days till he made his Indian Premier League (IPL) comeback as captain of the Chennai Super Kings. However, his return to the cricket pitch was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
While the rest of cricket waited in suspense, he had already made up his decision. As India celebrated its independence on August 15, 2020, Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket. Millions of admirers all across the globe shed tears.
“It gets difficult to control your emotions when you have lost a close game. And inside, I had made my entire planning. To me, that was the last day I played cricket for India. I took retirement a year later but the fact is that, that day I had retired. We cricketers are given certain machines and all of that. So everytime I went to the trainer I gave it back to him. He said ‘No you keep it. And in my mind, I am like ‘how do I tell him I won’t be needing or using it anymore’. I didn’t want to announce it at that point in time,” Dhoni said during an event.