Just the way he would surprise commentators and cricket pundits with his uncanny yet successful captaincy moves, Mahendra Singh Dhoni stunned the cricketing world on Wednesday by stepping down as India’s limited-overs captain. The announcement came minutes after the BCCI declared the date (January 6) of their selection committee meeting to name the squad for the ODI series against England, starting January 15.
Under Dhoni, India won the first edition of the 2007 World T20, ICC World Cup 2011 and the 2013 Champions Trophy. In total, he led India in 199 ODIs and 72 T20Is. Dhoni quit the Test captaincy in December 2014 when he retired from the format after the Boxing Day Test against Australia.
‘Master Blaster’ Sachin Tendulkar congratulated Mahendra Singh Dhoni for leading the Indian cricket team to great heights.
— sachin tendulkar (@sachin_rt) January 4, 2017
Here is what former India players spoke about Dhoni’s sudden decision:
“Dhoni knew it was the right time to hand over the limited overs captaincy to Virat. He did it at the right time in Test cricket too.
“Giving up captaincy is not easy. He has set a great example in Indian cricket, it shows he will do what is best for Indian cricket. When you go, go out on top.”
“As a selector you see the potential. At that time (in 2007) who would have thought he would become one of India’s greatest captains. He was an outstanding leader of men, a great player and a great ambassador of Indian cricket. He came on his own terms and is leaving on his own terms.”
“He perhaps realises that he can’t stretch himself as captain till 2019 World Cup. So he made way for Virat Kohli. This is a great sacrifice.”
“Dhoni must have noticed that Virat is doing really well, and there is nothing wrong in playing under him. He has done well recently as a batsman (in the last ODI series versus New Zealand) and will still be an asset to the team.”