Former India captain MS Dhoni shocked one and all when he stepped down as Test captain midway through to the 2014 tour of Australia. Ravi Shastri, who was the director of the side back then, revealed that the decision made by Dhoni, who was 10 shy from 100 Test matches, didn’t make any sense.
Dhoni pulled the trigger after India ended the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne in a draw. MS Dhoni didn’t gave any hint to anyone before and later it was revealed by a BCCI media release. Ravi Shastri has highlighted that the decision didn’t make sense in his new book. “Stargazing: The players in my life”
“MS was India’s, in fact the world’s, biggest player then with three ICC trophies under his belt, including two World Cups, and some very impressive silverware from the IPL. His form was good, and he was just 10 matches shy of completing 100 Tests,” wrote Shastri.
6 years ago today, MS Dhoni batted to save a test at the MCG & then announced his retirement from tests.
60 tests as captain, 27 wins, 18 losses, the best Indian record then.
So like him, one fine day just deciding to give it away.
Remember being absolutely stunned.
— Joy Bhattacharjya (@joybhattacharj) December 30, 2020
“Still one of the top-three fittest players on the team, he would have the opportunity to boost his career stats if nothing else. True, he wasn’t getting any younger, but he wasn’t that old either! His decision just didn’t make sense,” he added.
Notably, MS Dhoni took over the captaincy of Team India after Anil Kumble and led to series wins in New Zealand and West Indies. It was also in 2009 under Dhoni, that India became the No.1 Test side for the first time in history. He led India in 90 Tests and brought a lot of laurels for his country making it one of the superpowers in the red-ball format.
Tried to persuade MS Dhoni to change his decision: Ravi Shastri
Throwing light on the same matter, the former India all-rounder stated that he reached out to MS Dhoni to make him change his decision. However, it didn’t see daylight as the legendary cricketer had made his mind by then.
“All cricketers say landmarks and milestones don’t matter, but some do. I approached the issue in a roundabout way, probing for an opening to make him change his mind. But there was a firmness to MS’s tone that stopped me from pushing the matter any further. Looking back, I think his decision was correct; also brave and selfless,” Shastri wrote.
“Giving up on the most powerful position in cricket in the world, in a way, couldn’t have been easy,” he further added.
Ravi Shastri also heaped praise on MS Dhoni’s wicket-keeping skills saying that the latter’s unorthodox technique isn’t easy to replicate. Shastri even claimed that Dhoni’s hands are quicker than a pickpocket’s.
“MS is an unorthodox cricketer. His technique, in front of and behind the stumps, is not easily replicable. My suggestion to youngsters is don’t try imitating him unless it comes naturally. What made him so successful were his splendid hands. They were quicker than a pickpocket’s,” Shastri wrote in his book.
“No other wicketkeeper, at least in the era MS has played, was that fast. He was the best in the world for a long while, and in white-ball cricket by a long distance,” he concluded.