‘Ranchi boy’ says ‘Tata’ to Test cricket stuns fans and cricketing fraternity.
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni bid adieu to Test Cricket after playing his last innings of 24 not out against Australia in the third test which ended in a draw at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in Australia. Dhoni’s decision to hang his boots in the middle of a series has shocked cricketing fraternity and his fans as many of them wanted him to continue playing Tests. Virat Kohli will captain the side in the fourth and final Test in Sydney against Australia. This is probably the first case in history of Indian cricket that any Test skipper has decided to retire with immediate effect in the middle of a series.
Dhoni’s decision to quit the long format of the game might be due to the spats happening in the dressing room. He had mentioned that Virat Kohli had stabbed Shikar Dhawan by asking him to bat ahead of the former. Dhoni later denied making such statements and instead blamed the media for blowing the issue out of proportion. Of late Dhoni has been struggling with the bat and critics were questioning about his poor leadership which was responsible for India’s defeat overseas. Team India has played 30 Test matches abroad under his captaincy and could manage to win only 6 and lost 15.
Cricketing experts believe that the growing stature of Virat Kohli in Indian cricket team reportedly drove Dhoni to take the Test retirement decision. Also, people who have strong connections in BCCI have recently started backing Virat Kohli, thereby weakening Dhoni’s grip.
Dhoni made no mention of his retirement during the captain’s press conference at the end of the match. The announcement was made via a BCCI press release shortly after and it cited “the strain of playing all formats” as the reason.
BCCI in its release said, “One of India’s greatest Test Captains under whose leadership India became the No. 1 team in the Test Rankings MS Dhoni, has decided to retire from Test Cricket citing the strain of playing all formats of Cricket. M S Dhoni has chosen to retire from Test Cricket with immediate effect in order to concentrate on ODI and T20 formats.”
The board further said, “BCCI while respecting the decision of M S Dhoni to retire from Test Cricket, wishes to thank him for his enormous contribution to Test Cricket and the laurels that he has brought to India.”
Recently, former India captain Sourav Ganguly also criticised his captaincy by stating that the veteran wicketkeeper-batsman has been struggling for some time as the skipper in the five-day format.
“It’s not just these two matches, it’s for a while now (that Dhoni has struggled). He just has not really got the team going at Test match level. That’s up to the selectors but he has had a lot of time as captain, close to 60 Test matches,” Ganguly said.
“I think Dhoni is a good captain and possess good record in one-day cricket. But in Test conditions overseas, it’s just fallen away a bit. This series is not over yet so maybe we can talk differently at the end of it. Hopefully he can reinvent himself and find a way to lead this team forward,” he added.