Mahendra Singh Dhoni took the cricketing world by surprise again as he stepped down as captain of India's ODI and T20 teams on Wednesday. Just like his retirement from Test cricket, nobody saw it coming especially since Dhoni was expected to carry on at least till the Champions Trophy in England. As they say, it is impossible to read Mahi's mind.
The first ODI against England on January 15 in Pune was to be his 200th as captain of the Men in Blue. But the wicketkeeper-batsman has put the team's interest before a personal milestone to enable a smooth and seamless transition of the captaincy. Armed with the experience of leading India's Test side, Virat Kohli is now well prepared to lead the team's charge in limited-overs cricket as well.
That is probably what the 35-year-old felt before informing the BCCI about his decision. Dhoni has eased Kohli into the captaincy with a Test role and allowed him a build his own team. In a sense, Mahi has ushered Indian cricket into the Kohli era with by taking a backseat.
Clearly Dhoni thinks the moment has come. Thought he would quit after the Champions Trophy, but this is a selfless move.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 4, 2017
Trying to think like #Dhoni. Kohli most likely 2019 World Cup captain, so best that he leads in the Champions Trophy so best he starts now.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 4, 2017
Dhoni has captained India in 199 One-day Internationals, winning 110 and losing 74, with four ties and 11 no-results. He has a winning percentage of 59.57. He also led India in 72 T20 Internationals, winning 41 and losing 28, with one tie and two no-results.
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.
He still remains the country's number one wicketkeeper-batsman and will walk into the team till he remains fit and has the will.
With the burden of captaincy off his shoulders, fans are now hoping that Dhoni will stick to the carefree and fearless brand of batting that shot him into the spotlight.
With Kohli at the helm, Indian cricket is in good hands. But the team will need Dhoni the finisher to fire if they are to win the Champions Trophy later this year.