'End of an Era' as Mahendra Singh Dhoni announces retirement from international cricket; cricketers, fans pay tribute to 'Captain Cool'

Mahendra Singh DhoniMumbai: Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket on Saturday. The boy from Ranchi, who made his ODI debut in 2004, changed the face of Indian cricket with his calm demeanour, sharp understanding of the game and astute leadership qualities.

One of the most admired and respected cricketers, Dhoni is also among the most successful captains in world cricket. It was under his leadership that India lifted the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011 after having led India to triumph in the ICC World T20 in its maiden edition of the tournament held in 2007 in South Africa. With India winning the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013 in England, Dhoni became the first and is still the only captain till date to have won all three ICC Trophies.

While his heroics in the limited-overs formats are well documented, it was also under his leadership that India became the No. 1 Test side in 2009 and the team stayed at the top for over 600 days. He has led India to victory in 21 home Test matches, the most by an Indian captain.

Leaving behind a rich legacy that will be difficult to replicate, Dhoni holds the record for most international matches as captain (332). Unarguably the quickest man behind the wicket, Dhoni has 195 international stumpings, the most by any wicket-keeper.

Sourav Ganguly, President, BCCI, said “It is the end of an era. What a player he has been for the country and world cricket. His leadership qualities have been something, which will be hard to match, especially in the shorter format of the game. His batting in one-day cricket in his early stages made the world stand up and notice his flair and sheer natural brilliance. Every good thing comes to an end and this has been an absolutely brilliant one. He has set the standards for the wicketkeepers to come and make a mark for the country. He will finish with no regrets on the field. An outstanding career; I wish him the best in life.”

Jay Shah, Honorary Secretary, BCCI, said, “MS Dhoni is one of the greats of the modern era. I understand it’s a personal decision and we respect that. ‘Mahi’ as we all fondly refer to him, has had an exceptional career in international cricket. His captaincy has been both inspiring and commendable. He is leaving the game richer from the time he joined. I wish him all the very best for IPL and his future endeavours.”

Meanwhile, the International Cricket Council (ICC), too, congratulated former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for a wonderful international career that saw him lead his team to victory in all three major ICC tournaments for men.

The 39-year-old, who was captain of the teams that won the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2007, the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in 2011 and the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013, has announced his retirement from international cricket.

Dhoni was an accomplished all-rounder with his smart work behind the stumps and with the bat and was known as one of the greatest finishers in limited overs cricket.

ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney said: “MS Dhoni is one of the all-time greats of the game. The image of his winning shot at the Wankhede Stadium in the 2011 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup final is etched in the memory of cricket lovers around the world.

“He has inspired a whole generation and will be sorely missed. On behalf of the ICC, I congratulate him for an outstanding cricket career and wish him all the best for the future.”

Dhoni scored 4,876 runs in 98 matches with 256 catches and 38 stumpings in a Test career that he called an end to in 2014. In ODIs, he scored 10,773 runs with 321 catches and 123 stumpings, last turning out for India in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. In T20Is, he aggregated 1617 runs with 57 catches and 34 stumpings. He scored six centuries in Tests and 10 in ODIs.

Dhoni spent 656 days as the top-ranked batsman in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Player Rankings from 2006 to 2010 and was the ICC ODI Player of the Year in 2008 and 2009.

He was in the ICC ODI Teams of the Year in 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 and in the ICC Test Teams of the Year in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013. He won the ICC Spirit of Cricket award in 2011.

Meanwhile, Dohi's sudden decision to call it a day has left his fans, colleagues and admirers surprised. Here are their reactions: