Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s shock decision to step down as India’s limited-overs captain has not elicited the kind of response from the cricketing fraternity, particularly the skipper’s own teammates, as one would have expected for someone considered India’s most successful skipper.
However, two days after the announcement, Test skipper Virat Kohli today came out to salute the wicket-keeper batsman’s tenure as skipper, saying he will always be his captain. The respect Kohli has shown to Dhoni, under whose leadership a billion plus fans in the cricketing nation saw the batsman blossom, should douse all chatter of a discord.
Expressing his gratitude to Dhoni, Kohli tweeted: “Thanks for always being the leader a youngster wants to have around him. You'll always be my captain @msdhoni Bhai”.
Thanks for always being the leader a youngster wants to have around him. You'll always be my captain @msdhoni Bhai 😊😊— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) January 6, 2017
Dhoni stepping down as India’s captain in ODI and T20 formats paves the way for Virat Kohli to be named as the skipper when the for the limited-over formats. The announcement could come when the team for the limited overs series against England is announced on Friday.
On the other hand, sources close to Dhoni reportedly said that he had been mulling over the decision for the past few months.
Dhoni’s decision was almost a repeat of the moment when he announced his abrupt retirement from Test cricket in December 2014 in middle of the Test series in Australia, taking everyone, including the team management, by surprise.
Dhoni’s performance with the bat had dipped significantly in recent times. Also, questions were raised on his leadership skills following the team’s dismal performances in bilateral ODI series and heartbreaks in the World Cup and World T20.
Meanwhile, Virat Kohli was on fire throughout 2016 and amassed 2,595 runs in international cricket, smashing three triple hundreds and leading India to a record nine Test wins out of 12 matches.
In his unfinished limited overs career, Dhoni has so far scored 9,110 runs in 283 ODIs at an average of 50.89 with 183 not out being his highest score.