"You will always be my captain," said India skipper Virat Kohli to Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Sunday, expressing gratitude for the "friendship and belief" that he got from the talismanic senior.
In a nearly minute-long video posted on the BCCI's official Twitter handle, Kohli said Dhoni's retirement is that rare moment in his life when he doesn't have enough words to express his thoughts.
"Words fall short a lot of times in life and I think this is one of those moments. All I can say is that you will always be that guy who sat in the last seat of the bus," Kohli said.
"I've always said this and I will say it again, you will always be my Captain," #TeamIndia Skipper @imVkohli pays his tribute to @msdhoni who announced his retirement from international cricket at 1929 hours yesterday.#ThankYouMSD pic.twitter.com/U6uWlow4lB
— BCCI (@BCCI) August 16, 2020
Dhoni and Kohli shared a visibly comfortable equation even after the latter took over the leader's mantle and both spoke highly of each other.
"We have shared a great camaraderie, friendship, understanding because we have always played for the same roles, same goals, which was to make the team win," he said.
"It's been a pleasure playing under you, alongside you. You showed belief in me, which I would always be grateful for.
"I have said it before, I will say it again, you will always be my captain," he signed off.
Dhoni announced his retirement on instagram on Saturday.
The 39-year-old will, however, continue to compete in the IPL for Chennai Super Kings.
Moved out of India due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's IPL is scheduled to start on 19 September in the UAE.
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India were bundled out for a meagre 225 with Sri Lankan spinners Akila Dananjaya (3/44) and Praveen Jayawickrama (3/59) wreaking havoc in the middle overs.
India are unlikely to make changes as they would like to pocket the series before giving chances to other youngsters in the squad.
Saini was taken off the field in the penultimate over of the Sri Lanka innings when he injured his shoulder while fielding at extra-cover.