MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina, two of India's stalwarts over the last decade-and-a-half, called it quits from international cricket on Saturday.
At 7.29 pm, Dhoni broke the news on his Instagram handle and Raina followed suit soon after. Dhoni and Raina, both of whom play for Chennai Super Kings, are set to return to their roles as captain and vice-captain of the franchise in the Indian Premier League (IPL) which begins in September.
"Thanks a lot for ur love and support throughout. from 1929hrs consider me as retired," Dhoni posted on his Instagram handle.
The announcement came a day after he joined his Chennai Super kings teammates at the side's home base for a short training camp ahead of the players' departure to the UAE next week.
His last outing in India colours was during the lost World Cup semi-final against New Zealand in July last year.
One of the best runners between the wickets was run out following a hard-earned 50 in that tense game, shattering Indian hopes and leaving him in a state of disbelief.
Ever since he went on a sabbatical after that match, speculation raged over his future but he stoically avoided a response for over a year.
Raina, who has played over 300 matches for India across formats, last represented the Men in Blue in July 2018 during India's tour of England.
Here's how eminent personalities from the sporting world, politicians, Bollywood celebs flood social media to thank 'Captain Cool'and Raina:
Sachin recounts the "best moment of his life":
Your contribution to Indian cricket has been immense, @msdhoni. Winning the 2011 World Cup together has been the best moment of my life. Wishing you and your family all the very best for your 2nd innings. pic.twitter.com/5lRYyPFXcp
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) August 15, 2020
Thala and Chinna Thala bow out in style!
The legend in Dhoni will remain forever!
Words of praise from one legend to another!
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...... pic.twitter.com/0CuwjwGiiS — Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) August 15, 2020
Dhoni: A true leader, on and off the field!
When you lead without saying, get the best with out asking, build a team without meetings ,be humble when others crumble and an epitome of simplicity ...you are @msdhoni #Dhoni pic.twitter.com/EhC0yFhbOX — S.Badrinath (@s_badrinath) August 15, 2020
Certainly an inspiration to people of all ages!
You have been such an inspiration to every sports person. Made the entire nation proud with your incredible achievements. Thanks for all the great & miraculous memories Mahi bhai. Have a happy retirement & very best wishes for your second innings @msdhoni #Dhoni #DhoniRetires pic.twitter.com/ub8baziDna — Vinay Kumar R (@Vinay_Kumar_R) August 15, 2020
Captain heaps praise on Raina too!
Irfan Pathan, who himself announced his retirement in January, said the legendary skipper had to leave the game one day. "It was coming like every legend has to retire one day. It was Mahi today," he told PTI.
In his tweet, Pathan added: "It was a privilege to have played with a friend and a cricketer who gave many laurels to our country on the cricketing field, very very greatly done on your career".
Dhoni put Ranchi on the world map and his rise in international cricket was nothing short of remarkable, said former India batsman VVS Laxman.
"Seeing Dhoni's journey from a small town boy into a match-winner and one of the most astute leaders the world has seen was remarkable. "Thank you for the wonderful memories, Mahi. It was my privilege to play alongside you and I will always cherish the memories we shared together," Laxman wrote.
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) August 15, 2020
I wish you both all the very best for the future. pic.twitter.com/21J1LaEVWf
— Sir Vivian Richards (@ivivianrichards) August 15, 2020
.@msdhoni has mesmerized millions through his unique style of cricket. I hope he will continue to contribute towards strengthening Indian cricket in the times to come. Best wishes for his future endeavours.
World cricket will miss the helicopter shots, Mahi!
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) August 15, 2020
— Pankaj Advani (@PankajAdvani247) August 15, 2020
— Adam Gilchrist (@gilly381) August 15, 2020
— David Warner (@davidwarner31) August 15, 2020
You’ve been a constant source of motivation & encouragement for young players everywhere and you will continue to be, even as you embark on this new journey. Congratulations on a great career, @ImRaina. All the very best for everything the future holds.
— Jasprit Bumrah (@Jaspritbumrah93) August 15, 2020
@msdhoni Bro you always were super CLASSY, STYLISH AND HUMBLE. I have always admired you demure and grit. Aur अलविदा कहने का आपका अंदाज़ दिल छू gaya और आंसू भी ले आए। what an appropriate song you chose ....I smiled and had tears at the same time. pic.twitter.com/7fMvzwYIXb
— Ranganathan Madhavan (@ActorMadhavan) August 16, 2020
— Jhulan Goswami (@JhulanG10) August 15, 2020
— Randeep Hooda (@RandeepHooda) August 15, 2020
The 2011 World Cup win was @sachin_rt farewell but masterminded by MS Dhoni ... What an incredible international career ... You could argue the greatest ever white ball captain & finisher ... Cheers for all the memories MS
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) August 15, 2020
Ex-Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja wrote: "MS Dhoni retires from international cricket! Great leader, great record, great entertainer and best in the world at a DRS read, but above all MS will be remembered for being a lead cast in Indian cricket's iconic moments.'
Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar said "the story of cricket will never be complete without him". Lalchand Rajput was the team manager when a young Indian team won the T20 World Cup in 2007 under Dhoni's leadership. In his tribute, the former opener said: "Great cricketer and shrewdest captain cool, sad to hear about his retirment but his decision must be respected".
Ravichandran Ashwin wrote: "The legend retires in his own style as always, @msdhoni bhai you have given it all for the country. The champions trophy triumph, 2011 World Cup and the glorious @ChennaiIPL triumphs will always be etched in my memory. Good luck for all your future endeavours".
Kris Srikkanth was the chief selector when India won the 2011 World Cup. He rated Dhoni among the best leaders the game has seen. "You were one of the best captains ever to step onto a cricket field & I m blessed to have shared some special moments with you! I wish you and your family the same success in your next innings!"
With inputs from PTI.
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