CHENNAI: Throughout his career, Mahendra Singh Dhoni had demonstrated a grand sense of occasion, be it letting Sourav Ganguly marshal the team for the last 15 minutes in his final Test or wrapping up a memorable World Cup triumph with his trademark helicopter shot. But the announcement of his retirement from Tests was less so, more like the diminishing timing of his strokes in the longest version.
So the news came, unexpected as it was, minutes after his post-match press conference through the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s Twitter feed. Later, BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel confirmed it. The decision, apparently, was made soon after the match. It took the cricket fraternity by surprise. But Patel maintained it wasn’t a decision made in haste. “MS is a very practical man. He called up just after the Test and told me that he wanted to retire from Test cricket. I asked him whether he was injured. But he just told me that he wanted to quit Tests for good. It’s his personal choice and I needed to respect it,” Patel explained.
However, the timing of his retirement, with one more Test lined up in the Australian series, has sparked debates. Ex-skipper Sunil Gavaskar, however, defended him saying, “In a captain’s life, sometimes the burden gets too heavy. There are times when you try everything and nothing works. And probably that time had come for Dhoni.”
After a barren run of 13 defeats and one win in 17 Tests outside Asia since 2011, perhaps Dhoni could be justified. He was not only taking the moral responsibility, but also heeding to the toll captaining India in all three formats had taken on his mind and body.