Mahendra Singh Dhoni unpredictable as ever, shocks cricket world by stepping down as Team India captain

In an unexpected move, MS Dhoni stepped down as the ODI and T20I captain of Indian cricket team on Wednesday evening. The news was confirmed by BCCI on Twitter. However, he will be available for selection for the limited over games against England, the cricket board said.

Dhoni has a famous knack of surprising one and all and with this decision, the skipper has done it again. Two years ago, in 2014, he had stunned the cricketing world when he announced a shock retirement from Tests midway through a tour of Australia.

Commenting on Dhoni's sudden announcement, Rahul Johri, the chief executive officer of BCCI, said, "On behalf of every Indian cricket fan and the BCCI, I would like to thank MS Dhoni for his outstanding contribution as the captain of the Indian team across all formats. Under his leadership, the Indian team has touched new heights and his achievements will remain etched forever in the annals of Indian cricket."

The shot by MS Dhoni that won India the World Cup. AFP

MS Dhoni. AFP

Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar paid rich tributes to Dhoni as well. "Congratulations to MSD on a wonderful career as a captain, leading India to success in both T20 and ODI World Cups. Have seen him emerge from being an aggressive player to a steady and decisive captain. It's a day to celebrate his successful captaincy and to respect his decision. Wish MSD the very best, as he continues entertaining us on the field with his exploits," Tendulkar told the media.

Dhoni captained India in 199 matches, of which India won 110 with a win percentage of 59.57. He also holds the record of most T20Is as captain, with a win percentage of 59.28. Dhoni has been India's most successful limited-overs captain. Under his leadership, India have won the ICC T20 World Cup in 2007, the ICC ODI World Cup in 2011, the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013 and reached top of the Test rankings in 2009. Dhoni is the only captain to win all three major ICC tournaments.

While it was Dhoni's flamboyance that caught the imagination of the cricketing world when he started off, it was he captaincy in the 2007 World T20 that made him the cult hero. India were going through a tough time having knocked out of the 2007 World Cup but Dhoni, leading a young side gave birth to a new era with a stunning win in the inaugural T20 World Cup. His street smart captaincy stood out and his unpredictability baffled the opponents.

Every now and then he pulled off masterstrokes which caught the opponents on the back foot. The 2011 World Cup was the best example, where he promoted himself to No 5 to neutralise the effect of the spinners, especially Sri Lanka's premier veteran Muttiah Muralitharan, and he played one of best innings in a World Cup final, hitting 91 off 79 balls to help India lift the coveted trophy in Mumbai. The last ball six to seal the win will be etched forever in the minds of billions across the country.

With Virat Kohli growing in stature as a leader, Dhoni's timed his decision of relinquishing the captaincy perfectly. There was calm, fans were looking forward to the ODIs and T20Is, the selectors were to meet in two days to select the limited-overs squad for the England series.

There even were reports that Dhoni might play for India A in the warm-up games in Mumbai before the start of the series, that he was training regularly with the Jharkhand Ranji team that had qualified for the semis. But there was never the slightest hint of what was to come next. And true to his nature, just like his retirement in Tests, Dhoni shocked the cricketing world yet again, with his sudden decision to step down as limited-overs captain. Simple yet unpredictable as ever!

Published Date: Jan 05, 2017 10:27 AM | Updated Date: Jan 05, 2017 11:06 AM

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