"Just Like That, He Moved On": What MS Dhoni Told Lakshmipathy Balaji In The Moments After Retirement
Chennai Super Kings bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji recalled his conversation with MS Dhoni moments after the latter had announced his retirement.
L Balaji recalled his chat with MS Dhoni moments after Dhoni's retirement
Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket on August 15
Dhoni and Balaji were at the MA Chidambram Stadium that evening
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji called his former India teammate and captain MS Dhoni the man whose leadership “changed the perception of leadership among all captains.” Speaking on Star Sports Tamil Cricket Connected, Balaji recalled the immediate moments after Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket on August 15. Both Dhoni and Balaji were at the MA Chidambram Stadium in Chennai for a pre-season camp ahead of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020. “After practice gets over, I normally talk a lot to Dhoni about the wicket, about practising and playing conditions. So that day, I finished practice and I went inside. I did not realize that he had already put his retirement message at 7:29 pm,” Balaji recalled.
“So, after posting the message, Dhoni walked up to me as usual and he casually told me that he had asked the groundsman to water the ground extra for the pitch. I said okay. And I didn't realize anything, it was a huge moment in his life. But, just like that, he moved on, and that's Dhoni for you.
“I finally realised he announced his retirement. It took some time for me to sink in the moment. Dhoni's uniqueness is the way he is detached. He will never stop no matter what the situation is, and moves on in his own style.”
Dhoni leads CSK in the IPL and has worked with Balaji since the latter was named bowling coach in 2018.
Balaji, who last played for India in 2012 under Dhoni's captaincy and also played for CSK, said there's been nobody like Dhoni since the turn of the 21st century.
“From the year 2000, according to me, there's nobody like Dhoni who's had such a massive influence on not just Indian cricket but world cricket,” Balaji said.
“Even now if there are 20-plus runs needed to win in the last over and if I had to pick someone, it would always be Dhoni. Such massive impact he has. His leadership and his batting styles are totally different.
“His leadership changed the perception of leadership among all captains. The way he maintains his emotion on field, maintaining the team environment and camaraderie, leading the team successfully, only MS Dhoni could do it.”