Dhoni had quit Test cricket in December 2014 and there was intense speculation as to when the explosive wicket-keeper batsman will hang up his limited overs boots in international cricket. The speculation intensified after the former captain had taken a break from the game after the ICC ODI World Cup earlier this year and joined his regiment of the Indian Army for a short stint. He made himself unavailable for the limited over series against West Indies in the Caribbean and South Africa at home.
One Indian selector was quoted as saying that the very experienced wicket-keeper batsman had actually given the five wise men time to build the team with an eye on the 2020 World T20 in Australia.
Dhoni’s future in international cricket had been a subject of heated debate and there were enough indications that the selectors had begun looking ahead and planning for the future, with the emergence of Rishabh Pant and the likes of Sanju Samson, Wriddhiman Saha and Ishan Kishan waiting in the wings.
Hailing from Jharkhand, Dhoni went on to become India’s most decorated captain. His first big achievement as captain was leading India to the 2007 World T20 title in its inaugural edition. The whole Nation woke up to the phenomenon that was ‘Mahi’ as India clinched the title, beating archrivals Pakistan in the final.
Four years later India clinched their second ODI World Cup title, under Dhoni’s captaincy. MSD finished off the final vs Sri Lank in style with a magnificent six at the Wankhede Stadium on April 2, 2011. His knock of 91 not out in the final will always be remembered as one of the finest ever played in a crunch World Cup final encounter.
Dhoni broke into the Indian ODI team in December 2004 on the back of his explosive batting but it was in his fifth ODI – against Pakistan at Visakhapatnam on April 5, 2005 – when ‘Dhoni the star’ was born, as he smashed the Pakistan attack to pulp, scoring a blitzkrieg 148.
There was no looking back for Dhoni after that match and he went on to become one of the most popular cricketers in India. In 2008, under Dhoni’s captaincy India won the CB series ODI tri-nation tournament in Australia, which was a big series win for the Men in Blue.
Under Dhoni’s captaincy, India also won the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy. Dhoni in fact is the only captain in world cricket who has won all three ICC limited overs titles (T20 World Cup, ODI World Cup and Champions Trophy)
Dhoni also led India to the top of the ICC Test rankings.
Dhoni was also awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna (2007), the Padma Shri (2009) and the Padma Bhushan (2018)
He was also the ICC ODI player of the year in 2008 and 2009, becoming the first cricketer to win the award twice.
Hands down one of the most popular and loved cricketers across the country and the world, MS Dhoni leaves behind a glittering legacy.