15th August 2020, I had just returned to my home after my evening walk and started surfing the television channels when the news of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s retirement flashed across all the news channels. Not that it was not expected. Even the most ardent Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s fans were realizing that age was catching up with him and the demands of international cricket were far more taxing on a 39-year-old trying to eke out a career. It was the timing of the decision which had shocked many. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been one of the great contributors to the Indian cricket and it would have been befitting for him to hang up his boots in a much-deserved farewell match before the Ranchi crowd which loved him so much.
Ever since Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement Mahendra Singh Dhoni had been the most prized possession of Indian Cricket. He appeared on the Indian cricketing scene during the year 2005 riding on his brilliant performances for the India A team at Nairobi in Kenya. It was not long before he was catapulted to success and fame with a brilliant century against Pakistan at Vishakhapatnam. Mahendra Singh Dhoni was also the answer to the Dilemma which the Indian Selectors were facing at that time. After the retirement of senior players in the team like Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, and Kumble who is the cricketer that is going to lead India? Dhoni’s tremendous temperament and the recommendations from the Senior players including Tendulkar ensured that Mahendra Singh Dhoni got the most coveted and hyped job in India. He was appointed the Captain of the Indian Cricket Team for the World Twenty- Twenty tournament scheduled to be held in South Africa. There has been no looking back since then.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been one of the most successful captains of India with an impeccable record. His success at captaincy has been unparalleled. Dhoni announced his retirement In an Instagram post with a Bollywood song playing in the Background. The manner in which he retired has once again exemplified his humility and simplicity. There were no grand announcements, no farewell matches, no Television programs in the lead up to his retirement as has happened with many Indian cricketing greats. There was a subsequent announcement of retirement by Suresh Raina who had been playing with Dhoni from the beginning of his career for India as well as Chennai Super Kings in the franchisee-based cricket. The decision of Raina reinforced the fact that Dhoni was a true leader worth emulating even in decisions such as the timing of the announcement of retirement.
For cricketing fans, this was a moment of despondency and shock. Dhoni’s absence, the lack of his leadership and charisma will always be felt on the cricketing field. Congratulatory messages are pouring in from all sections of the society and from eminent personalities on Social and Electronic Media. The talisman from Ranchi has retired. His Legacy will continue to charm cricket lovers all over the world for posterity.