Wednesday, 31 December 2014

No more Testing times for Dhoni..............

No sea of emotional fans in the stands. No guard of honour from his grateful colleagues. No lap of honour from the man himself! In a style so typical of the man, Mahendra Singh Dhoni walked into the sunset quitting Test cricket leaving everyone stunned.
For someone who follows his own wisdom and wears his humility on his sleeves, Dhoni doesn't display his emotions.

Perhaps the only hint he gave was at the end of the Test when Dhoni plucked a stump on his way back. "Why would he collect a stump in a drawn game?" asked Ian Chappell on Channel Nine. "Why not," replied Dean Jones. "He has nine victims from the Test- some sort of a record."
Well, now we know why Dhoni took the stump as a souvenir! Dhoni came for the post-match press conference smiling. Some of his answers had his usual wit. Once he was through, he joked with some journalist.

However, till then no one had imagined that soon they would be hearing the news from back home about his retirement. It was announced that Virat Kohli will lead the team in the final Test at Sydney. Dhoni will continue to play ODI and T20 Internationals.

"Had we known about it, would we not have given him a guard of honour or a farewell befitting a player of his stature?" asked a senior colleague. It has been learnt that he informed sidelined BCCI president N. Srinivasan and secretary Sanjay Patel about his decision. It was Dhoni's wish that the decision be made public at the end of the third Test.

The BCCI press release gives the reason as "strains of playing all forms of cricket." Those who have been privileged to know Dhoni closely know that his body had taken a heavy toll. Soon after the 2011 World Cup win, Dhoni had said he would give up one form of cricket in a year's time.

With the team continuing to perform badly overseas, pressure was mounting on Dhoni to quit captaincy in the longer format. But Dhoni is his own man. He could have given up captaincy and stayed on to play another 10 Tests to complete a reach the 100 landmark. But he is not seduced by statistics. On Tuesday, Dhoni became the Indian captain to score most runs in Tests, 3,454, going past Sunil Gavaskar (3,449). Dhoni gave a hundred per cent, played his cricket with grace and humility. Well done Mahi! Thanks for the memories.