Former Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni shocked the cricket fraternity when he announced a sudden retirement from Test cricket, merely minutes after India's match against Australia in December 2014.
Dhoni represented India in 90 Tests, scoring 4,876 runs at an average of 38.1.
In a conversation with Ravichandran Ashwin, India's premier fast bowler in Tests Ishant Sharma has now revealed that even the players in the dressing room didn't know that Dhoni would retire after the game.
Talking on the eve of the third Test against England in Motera (which would also be Ishant's 100th Test), the Indian pacer talked about his conversation with Dhoni prior to his retirement in the game.
"I felt very bad, because as you know, I had taken a few injections during that Test because of the pain in my knee. We didn't know he was going to retire because we were playing the Test," Ishant told Ashwin.
"When it was almost Tea on day 4, and I think Australia were about to declare, I told Mahi bhai, "I can't take anymore injections." And he said it was alright, don't bowl now. Then, after some time, he said something like, 'Lambu, you have deserted me in this Test match'. I asked, "what does that mean?"
"He said, 'You've deserted me in my last Test match'. I said, "Mahi bhai, if I had known, I would have definitely bowled.' So I think it was a very touching story. Even I didn't know till the last day he was retiring."
Ashwin then pointed out that no one expected Dhoni to retire as he was not far from reaching 100 Tests.
"Even I didn't expect it because Mahi bhai had 93 or 94 Tests (90 Tests) until then," Ashwin said, to which Ishant insisted that the former Indian captain was "not a man of numbers."
"Actually you know him, he is not a man of numbers. So, he always thinks about what's good for the team. He told me (during 2014 tour of England), "Reaching the milestone of 100 Tests is not a big deal for me," Ishant said.
"He was thinking about how to groom (Wriddhiman) Saha as we had a long season coming up in India. So, I think he retired because of that."