After making a mark for himself in the world of cricket with his leadership skills, Mahendra Singh Dhoni left everyone in shock when he stepped down as the India's limited overs captain in an announcement on Wednesday.
Dhoni's selfless decision to relinquish the captaincy once again left everyone admiring the 35-year-old cricketer, given the momentum that Virat Kohli has gained since taking over as Test skipper.
Firstpost caught up with Paramjeet Singh and Seemanth Lohani - close friends of the now former Indian captain since his younger days - in an attempt to decipher the Dhoni they knew.
"Dhoni could do anything any time, and perhaps that's why there is no one quite like him," Paramjeet who owns a sports equipment shop in the former's hometown of Ranchi, told Firstpost.
"Nobody apart from him knows what is going in his head, but if he has taken a decision, then I think it must be correct. He has just stepped down as captain and not stopped playing. I'm sure he will play the next World Cup," he added.
"Whether he remains the captain or not, the person who follows him as the captain is sure to seek for his advice. So in one way or the other he will keep on contributing for the team," Paramjeet who was addressed as 'Chhotu Bhaiyya' by Dhoni said, voiced his support for the wicketkeeper-batsman's decision.
Lohani, another of Dhoni's childhood friends, reiterated that the 2011 World Cup-winning captain knew more about the sport than him, and that his decisions could never be wrong.
"One a personal note, I agree with every decision he takes as he knows more about the sport than I do, and his decisions can never be wrong. This is the end of a very successful chapter in his career, and I hope the next chapter is even more successful.
"I feel this is his personal call, so we can't really say much, He is capable of taking any decision at any point of time and that's why he is the Dhoni we know. There is no like him and there will never be. I am confident he will play in the next World Cup though," Lohani added.
Lohani or Chittu as Dhoni liked to call him, said his friend's decision to quit the captaincy has been taken with the benefit of Indian cricket in mind.
"There is no selfish motive behind this decision of his. He has done this for the nation and for his team, so that the ones have come into the team after him get a chance, allowing the youth to represent the country in that capacity. For him, nothing is greater that the nation and his game," Lohani said.
Keshav Ranjan Banerjee, who was Dhoni's sports teacher at his alma mater Jawahar Vidya Mandir, is often credited for introducing him to cricket. It was Banerjee who coaxed the football-loving Dhoni to take up wicket-keeping for his school cricket team. Speaking to Firstpost, Banerjee exuded complete confidence in the former Indian captain.
"Dhoni is a very sensible man. His decision is meant for Virat Kohli. Before any one tries to force him out of the team, he has cleared his own way. I hope he plays till the 2019 World Cup, but we don't know when he will surprise us with another decision," Banerjee said.
"Dhoni's has made the greatest contribution (to Indian cricket). He has been the best captain for the team. This decision of his is not the end of cricket in his life. Whatever he does in the future, it will be for the betterment of the game. The amount of time he is spending with the young players from Bokaro, Ranchi and Jharkhand, one can gauge his plans for the future," he added.
The 35-year-old will soon start a cricket academy in Ranchi where he will help young players improve their game.
This article was originally published on Firstpost Hindi and is a translated version of the same.
Published Date: Jan 06, 2017 11:00 AM | Updated Date: Jan 06, 2017 16:10 PM