India suffered their first bilateral ODI series defeat in over two years on Tuesday when England beat the visitors by a big margin of 8 wickets in the third and deciding match of the three-match ODI series. The Indian batsmen failed to put up a big score in order to put England under any sort of pressure, which was reflected in the fact that there was only one fifty-plus score in the Indian innings - 71 by captain Virat Kohli.
Though the Indian fans don't mind their team losing to a strong English side, what took them by surprise was the visual of wicketkeeper MS Dhoni taking the match-ball away with him after the defeat. This has sparked rumours across social media that the veteran might be retiring from ODIs. A few even claimed that Dhoni might have already played his last international match.
I am scared now....it is not the time for DHONI to retire ...please Dhoni ...stay ...— abhishek dwivedi (@abhishek_srkfan) July 17, 2018
Dont make any announcement ...please please ...it will be end of my Childhood ...
Big Question is Why MS Dhoni took the ball from umpires at the end of match ? pic.twitter.com/21lgRGNyl4— DHONI Trends™ (@TrendsDhoni) July 17, 2018
Retierment announcement comming soon! 🤔Asia cup would be the last get go i think— rohitvig (@rv0005) July 17, 2018
The above speculations notwithstanding, Dhoni also received a lot of flak from certain quarters for his slow batting - 42 off 66 balls - which confounded a number of viewers. During the ODI series, the ex-India captain scored a total of 79 runs off 125 deliveries with a Strike-Rate of 63.20 - a statistic alien to modern day finishers. A feature of his batting during this series has been the number of dot balls he consumed even when the team needed to score at a higher rate.
This compelled a number of fans to call for his sacking or retirement from ODIs.
@msdhoni if u really want that india win matches...please get retirement and give chance to another player to became like the great dhoni— Dinesh patidar (@dineshpatel7722) July 17, 2018
During Dhoni's captaincy when senior players failed to perform they forced their retirement by dropping them from the side,Why isn't the BCCI and Kohli doing the same with dhoni? There are Pant,Kishan who are waiting for their opportunities to showcase their talent #ENGvIND— Shoeb Zama (@shoebzama83) July 17, 2018
MS Dhoni of 2010 would have dropped MS Dhoni of 2018. #ENGvIND— Malay Desai (@MalayD) July 17, 2018
There is no doubt that this debate will continue in the coming days with India not scheduled to play any white-ball cricket before the Asia Cup in September. It remains to be seen whether Dhoni can find ways to silence his detractors or succumb under pressure and hang his boots.