New Delhi: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the country’s most successful skipper, on Wednesday sprang a major surprise by stepping down as India’s limited overs captain, thereby bringing an abrupt end to his glorious leadership tenure.
The 35-year-old Dhoni under whom India had won two World Cups and a Champions Trophy title, stunned the cricket fraternity by relinquishing the captaincy barely 11 days before the ODI series against England.
Dhoni’s decision has now paved the way for Test captain Virat Kohli to take over the mantle of the limited overs team as well.
While expressing his desire to quit captaincy, Dhoni conveyed to the selection committee that he will be available for selection as a player for the three ODIs and as many T20s against England starting January 15.
In his unfinished limited overs career, Dhoni has so far scored 9110 runs in 283 ODIs at an average of 50.89 with 183 not out being his highest score. Besides, the wicket-keeper batsman has so far made 1112 runs from 73 T20 Internationals.
Interestingly, Dhoni’s decision came a day after Anurag Thakur and Ajay Shirke were removed as president and secretary of the BCCI by the Supreme Court for failing to implement the Lodha Committee recommendations.
Commenting on Dhoni’s sudden announcement, Rahul Johri, Chief Executive Officer of the BCCI said, “On the 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.”
Dhoni, 35, had earlier suddenly quit Test captaincy during the Australia tour in 2014 in Melbourne.
Dhoni has been India’s most successful captain. Under his leadership India have won the ICC T20 World Cup in 2007, the ICC ODI World Cup in 2011, ICC Champions Trophy in 2013 and also reached the top of the Test rankings in 2009.
While he continues to be available as a player, the Champions Trophy in England could be an indicator whether he would continue as a player till 2019 World Cup. India’s double World Cup winning skipper will be playing a competitive match after 77 days against England which could be an indicator as to how long he will continue with his illustrious career.