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MS Dhoni retires from all international cricket

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Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who led his side to victory in three global ICC tournaments, has announced his retirement from international cricket.

The announcement on Saturday, 15 August, was in typical Dhoni style, understated and unexpected. "Thanks a lot for your support throughout. From 1929 hrs consider me as Retired", he said in a post on Instagram, which was accompanied by a slideshow of his career in images.

The BCCI later confirmed in a release that the former skipper was retiring from international cricket; he is expected to feature in the IPL. 

Under Dhoni’s leadership, India won the inaugural edition of the ICC T20 World Cup in 2007. In 2011, he ended a 28-year wait for India by lifting the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup trophy, becoming only the second Indian captain after Kapil Dev to do so. Two years later, he completed an unprecedented treble, captaining India to the 2013 Champions Trophy title in England.

Considered one of the greatest finishers in modern-day limited-overs cricket, and one of the sharpest cricketing minds, Dhoni appeared in 350 one-day internationals, including three for Asia XI, in 2007. Across a distinguished 16-year career, he scored 10,773 ODI runs at 50.57 with 10 centuries. He also featured in 98 T20Is, the most by any Indian, between 2006 and 2019, scoring 1617 runs at 37.60.

Video cwc19 15 Aug 20
CWC19: Mahendra Singh Dhoni's legacy

In January 2017, he quit captaincy from both ODIs and T20Is, even as he continued to be India's first-choice wicket-keeper in limited-overs cricket, right up until the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019, which turned out to be his fourth and final edition.

Even though purists may have frowned at his unorthodox batting technique, Dhoni was a vital force for India in the longest format for close to a decade, scoring 4876 runs at 38.09 in 90 Tests. His sudden retirement from Test cricket came in December 2014, during India's tour to Australia, but he remained a key figure in ODIs and T20Is for years to follow. 

Born in Ranchi, Dhoni debuted for India in December 2004 during the ODI leg of their Bangladesh tour as a wicket-keeper batsman. In only his fifth ODI, he cracked his maiden ton, a blazing 148 against Pakistan at No.3, exhibiting a carefree, aggressive batting style, a feature that remained his trademark for the next 10 years.

Video cwc19 31 Jan 19
India win the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 with Dhoni’s match winning six
ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, Final; Sri Lanka (274-6) v India (277-4). India won by 6 wickets

The very same year, his career-best unbeaten 183 against Sri Lanka enhanced his big-hitting reputation, and continues to be the highest score by a wicket-keeper batsman in ODIs. By the turn of the decade, Dhoni added more layers to his game, developing into a middle-order orchestrator and spearheading chases to further enhance his ODI reputation. He joined the 10,000-run club in ODIs last year, one of only five Indians to do so.

Although his batting style mellowed towards the final stage of his career, Dhoni remained a dependable figure in India's fluctuating middle order. His last ODI turned out to be the 18-run World Cup semi-final loss to New Zealand, on 10 July, 2019.

Behind the wickets, Dhoni built a name as one of world cricket's swiftest stumpers; his keeping was highlighted by a safe catching style and lightning-quick reflexes. Statistically, he ended as the third-most successful international wicket-keeper ever (829 dismissals), and the only one to record over 100 ODI stumpings.

Video cwc19 12 Sep 19
ICC World T20 2007: India beat Pakistan in the final
India beating Pakistan in final of WT20 Dhoni lifting trophy

As captain, he enjoyed success around the world, especially in limited-overs cricket. Under him, India reached No.1 in Tests in the ICC rankings in 2009, which coincided with his own run at the top of the ODI batting charts. With Dhoni at the helm, India also boasted a commendable home record, losing just one series in six years. One of his biggest highlights was whitewashing a visiting Australia 4-0 at home in 2013, a series that witnessed his career-best Test score of 224.

Away from home, he tasted mixed results; he led the Test team to series wins in New Zealand, West Indies and Bangladesh, but also endured whitewashes on tours of England and Australia. 

In ODIs and T20Is, Dhoni’s unique captaincy style, marked by unconventional and instinctive tactics, became the cornerstone for India’s rise into a dominant white-ball force. Arguably, his most memorable ODI knock came in the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka, when he promoted himself ahead of an in-form Yuvraj Singh, and steered India's chase with an unbeaten 91, capping off the game with a memorable six.

In all, he captained India in 200 ODIs, maintaining a win-percentage of 59.52. Apart from the three ICC titles, Dhoni's other notable wins included a historic ODI tri-series win on Australian soil in 2008, as well as the Asia Cup wins of 2010 and 2016.

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