Iconic India wicketkeeper-batsman and former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni brought the curtains down on his international career on Saturday.
Dhoni, who led India to victory in three ICC events — in the 2007 World T20, 2011 World Cup as well as the 2013 Champions Trophy — in addition to captaining the team to the No 1 position in Tests, made the announcement on his official Instagram account.
"Thanks a lot for ur love and support throughout.from 1929 hrs consider me as Retired," wrote Dhoni in a post on his official Instagram account on the occasion of India's 74th Independence Day.
According to ESPNCricinfo, the Chennai Super Kings skipper is expected to continue representing the franchise in the Indian Premier League (IPL), including in the 2020 edition of the league that is to commence from 19 September and will be taking place entirely in the UAE.
Dhoni, who made his international debut in the 2004-05 tour of Bangladesh, last made an appearance in India colours in the semi-final defeat to New Zealand in the 2019 ICC World Cup. Dhoni struck 50 during the chase, and nearly took India home along with Ravindra Jadeja from a near-impossible position, with India ultimately falling short of the target set by the Black Caps by 18 runs.
There had been a lot of speculation over his international future ever since, which ultimately got cleared on Saturday.
The Ranchi native, who had earlier retired from Tests midway during the 2014-15 tour of Australia after 90 appearances, played a total of 350 ODIs and 98 T20Is for the Men in Blue. Dhoni accumulated a total of 10,773 runs in the 50-over international format, registering 10 centuries and 73 fifties along the way.
Dhoni holds the record for most international matches as captain, 332, and his 195 international stumpings is also the most by any wicketkeeper. He scored 10,773 runs in ODIs and is the only captain to have led a country to victory in all three International Cricket Council trophies.
Tributes poured in for the player who led India to the Twenty20 World Cup in 2007, the 50-over event in 2011 and the Champions Trophy in 2013.
"The boy from Ranchi, who made his ODI debut in 2004, changed the face of Indian cricket with his calm demeanour, sharp understanding of the game and astute leadership qualities," the Board of Control for Cricket in India said in a statement confirming Dhoni's move.
"It is the end of an era," said Sourav Ganguly, the BCCI president and himself a former national captain.
"His leadership qualities have been something which will be hard to match."
India skipper Virat Kohli tipped his hat to his former captain in an emotional message.
"Every cricketer has to end his journey one day, but still when someone you've gotten to know so closely announces that decision, you feel the emotion much more. What you've done for the country will always remain in everyone's heart," Kohli wrote on Twitter.
"but the mutual respect and warmth I've received from you will always stay in mine. The world has seen achievements, I've seen the person. Thanks for everything skip. I tip my hat to you."
India batting great Sachin Tendulkar paid tribute to his former teammate under whom he won the ODI World Cup in Mumbai.
"Your contribution to Indian cricket has been immense," Tendulkar wrote on Twitter.
"Winning the 2011 World Cup together has been the best moment of my life."
Former England captain Nasser Hussain rated Dhoni as the best ever captain in limited-overs cricket.
"Great captain. Probably the best white-ball captain there has ever been and also a cool, calm customer under pressure," the cricketer-turned-commentator said on Sky Sports.
"He is a great finisher of a game and until recently he paced the innings perfectly. He was involved in some of the great moments of Indian cricket and did things his own way.
After his debut, 16 years ago, Dhoni captured the imagination of fans with his swashbuckling batting. He played 90 Tests, scoring 4,876 runs.
Suresh Raina said it had been "nothing but lovely" to be in teams with Dhoni as he also announced his departure from the national team on Instagram.
"With my heart full of pride, I choose to join you in this journey," he declared.
With inputs from AFP
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