Mumbai: Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Wednesday took the cricket fraternity by surprise after he decided to step down as India’s ODI and T20 skipper.
While it was clear that Dhoni, who had won everything that’s there to be won in the limited-overs format, would not go on forever captaining the Indian team; more so after Virat Kohli’s ascendance at the helm as India’s Test skipper, not many see Dhoni’s hanging his captaincy boots ahead of the ODI series against England.
It was thought that Dhoni would captain the side in Champions Trophy 2017 which will be played in England and then hand over the baton to Kohli. However, Dhoni opted not to wait till then and relinquished the role.
While there is no confirmation, there are reports indicating that Dhoni, who was in Nagpur mentoring his state side Jharkhand during their Ranji Trophy campaign, had an interaction with MSK Prasad, Team India chief selector, who was also there at the venue to follow the proceedings between Gujarat versus Jharkhand Ranji Trophy semifinal.
Although the duo was clicked having a chat on Tuesday and Wednesday, it was thought they were having a discussion about team selection for the ODI series against England.
It turned out that Dhoni let Prasad, who reportedly asked him about how he sees himself in the scheme of things in future, know that he wishes to step down from the role India’s ODI and T20 skipper.
While Prasad did not go into the details of what the conversation was between him and Dhoni, an ESPNcricinfo report quoted Prasad as saying: “We all know his sense of integrity and patriotism, and he has got high clarity in thinking.”
“Probably he felt that is the best decision, so let us respect it,” added Prasad.
While India's record did not decline in recent times under Dhoni's captaincy – they had blanked Australia 3-0 in T20s Australia, had defeated Sri Lanka in three-match T20 series, won the Asia Cup, reached the semifinals of the ICC World Twenty20, won the ODI series against New Zealand – his form had dipped with he himself admitting during the ODI series against New Zealand that he was losing his touch to finish off games - something he has done with remarkable consistency for a decade.