90 matches, 4876 runs, 294 dismissals, 6 hundreds, 33 fifties and 10 ducks
It’s hard to believe these numbers are never going to change.
With the sudden announcement of his retirement from Tests earlier today, Dhoni has taken the phrase “Expect the unexpected” to an all new level. As an unabashed Dhoni fan , it was extremely shocking and disheartening for me to hear the news, initially. Seeing Raina’s tweet (embedded below) with tears in Dhoni’s eyes after announcing his Test retirement was literally a “kanla thanni” moment for thousands of fans, like me.
All his heroics in Tests (only a handful, but still) began flashing in my eyes. As a batsman, his ruthless assault at Faisalabad (148, against Pakistan) and match winning 224 at Chepauk (against Australia) would stand out. And then there were the double century stands with VVS, and valuable 50s, 60s and 70s when he batted with the tail. Frankly though, he hasn’t left behind an irreplaceable void in terms of his batting, in Test Cricket.
He’ll however be remembered in Test History as the Captain who led India to World No. 1 Test Rankings. To captain a side that was built by Sourav and led by Dravid and Kumble was not an easy task. The nonchalant ease with which he took up the challenge and led India on its way to glory was commendable. In the process, he also became the most successful Test Captain for India, in a list that features greats like Dada and Dravid. That’s something he can feel extremely proud of.
To think of it, Dhoni could not have timed his retirement better. Virat Kohli seems to be in great form as a batsman and has shown good signs of captaincy (in Adelaide, aiming for a win). I am sure Dhoni’s decision to retire would have materialized only after he got the faith that he’s leaving Indian Test Cricket in safe hands. He wouldn’t have thought twice to carry on with captaincy had he not been sure about Virat’s capability to lead the side, even if that meant bearing the brunt of the media and fans, for another away series defeat. Selfless cricketer, he is.
Saw a few reactions on News channels that Dhoni has abandoned a sinking ship by retiring mid-series. Now let’s assume he carried on as Captain in Sydney and India drew/lost the match. He’d have had to face allegations of carrying on as Captain despite performing poorly “away”. Players like Dhoni are always caught between the devil and deep blue sea; they get criticized no matter what they do.
However, it was very heartening to see some good reactions too, appreciating his personal decision to retire from Tests.
Thank you, Dhoni, for everything you’ve done for India in Tests.
Looking forward to March 29 now.