“Thanks a lot for ur love and support throughout. From 1929 hrs consider me as Retired”. In 16 words, with a bit of military discipline and symbolic of the total number of years he has played in international cricket, that was it.
On a social media account he did not even update for the last 26 weeks, he chose the moment to announce something massive on India’s 73rd Independence day. No fanfare, no massive onground celebrations, no press conference and no publicity.
Fans will now have to be content to watching Dhoni ply his trade with Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2020. Within one hour, the video already garnered over 4 million views.
It was speculated ever since July 2019, after he was run-out in the semi-final against New Zealand in the ICC World Cup final that Dhoni would retire.
He kept the world waiting, any post by cricketers on Dhoni would immediately result in speculation that he was retiring. But, if one had seen how he had retired in Tests in 2014, then they would have been aware that Dhoni chooses his moment, the space and the method of conveying the message.
The way it was announced on his Instagram account was sensational. There is a four-minute, four second video with photos of Dhoni’s ultimate highs and lows and the background sound is this iconic song from the 1976 film Kabhie Kabhie ‘Main Pal do Pal ka shayar hoon’ (I am a poet for a few moments). The four minutes encompasses the entire career of Dhoni and how Indian cricket transformed under his vision.
Small town, Massive vision
“How many poets came and went before me,
Some returned with sorrow, some went away singing,
I am also part of the moment, I’m also the story,
Tomorrow I will go away from you, but today I am with you.”
What do Kapil Dev and MS Dhoni, two men who made India into a cricketing powerhouse, have in common? Both won World Cups. Both changed the face of Indian cricket forever. Both were from small towns.
In 1983, no one ever thought that a small-town lad from Rohtak, Haryana would make such an impact.
In 2007, when India won the World T20, everyone was shocked that a captain from a non-cricketing power-centre like Ranchi would cause a tsunami in Indian cricket circles.
From the depths of despair in 2007, it was Dhoni and his brigade that started the turnaround in South Africa. Fearless, backing players to the hilt, calmness and taking the game deep. These four aspects mushroomed under Dhoni.
The 2007 World T20 was the start of all the good work and the base laid down by former captains Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble. With this success, the 90s adage of ‘Tigers at home, Lambs Abroad’ started changing.
Pinnacle of success
“Tomorrow they will come to choose new blooming buds,
There will be people who say better words than me,
Tomorrow someone will remember me, why does someone remember me”
No.1 in Test cricket, 2011 World Cup triumph to erase 28 years of pain, 2013 Champions Trophy winner, making Chennai Super Kings THE IPL franchise which is universally accepted, Champions League success. You name it, he has done it.
MS Dhoni has achieved everything that is required. Yes, he was whitewashed 4-0 in both Australia and England which is a rare sore point. Under his tenure, his home dominance also ended with the 2012 loss to England. But, on all other occasions, his dominance is complete. He is the only captain to win all ICC major trophies and this is one feat that can never be taken away.
Started his career with a run-out and ended it with a run-out. The pose when he hit the winning six off Nuwan Kulasekara to send 130 crore Indians into raptures in the World Cup final in Wankhede. Those lightning fast stumpings. Those hilarious bits behind the wickets to keep bowlers motivated. Mentor. Icon and living by his own rules.
“Tomorrow a new flower will bloom, fresh grass will cover a ground where new feet will chart their own destiny. They will not come between me, why should I come in between”
For making India the ultimate cricketing superpower, Dhoni will forever be known as the ultimate driving force. Thank you, Mahi. From the bottom of our hearts. Thank you for making us witness iconic moments.