Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Wednesday sprang a major surprise by stepping down as India’s limited-over skipper, just days before the team is scheduled to play three ODIs and three T20Is against England at home, starting January 15.
While Dhoni’s surprise decision has shocked the cricket world and fans, the reason why he decided to pass on the baton is still unclear.
However, Times of India, in its report, quoted sources close to him saying that he had been mulling over the decision for the past few months.
“It’s very clear that the team that’s representing India right now is Virat’s team. They all have immense respect for MS. But one cannot ignore this is Virat’s team,” a source was quoted by Times of India as saying.
Dhoni’s decision recalled the moment when he announced his abrupt retirement from Test cricket in December 2014 in middle of the Test series in Australia.
Dhoni’s performance with the bat had dipped significantly in the 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.
Dhoni's decision has now paved the way for Test captain Virat Kohli to take over the mantle of the limited overs team as well.
While expressing his desire to quit captaincy, Dhoni conveyed to the selection committee that he will be available for selection as a player for the three ODIs and as many T20s against England starting January 15.
In his unfinished limited overs career, Dhoni has so far scored 9110 runs in 283 ODIs at an average of 50.89 with 183 not out being his highest score.
Besides, the wicket-keeper batsman has so far made 1112 runs from 73 T20 Internationals.
Interestingly, Dhoni's decision came a day after Anurag Thakur and Ajay Shirke were removed as president and secretary of the BCCI by the Supreme Court for failing to implement the Lodha Committee recommendations.