After much speculation about his future, former skipper of the Indian cricket team Mahendra Singh Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket on Instagram.
With the possibility of a press conference out of the question due to the global pandemic, Dhoni, known for his unorthodox batting style and his out-of-the-box thinking on the field stayed true to his character even when announcing his retirement.
He uploaded a video featuring a collage of his images from his playing days with the song 'Main Pal Do Pal Ka Shair' playing in the background and a caption reading:
“Thanks a lot for ur love and support throughout. From 1929 hrs consider me as retired”
Tributes poured in for Dhoni from the cricketing fraternity with the great Sachin Tendulkar among the first to react to Dhoni's retirement, reminiscing about winning the 2011 ICC World Cup under his captaincy.
Your contribution to Indian cricket has been immense, @msdhoni. Winning the 2011 World Cup together has been the best moment of my life. Wishing you and your family all the very best for your 2nd innings. pic.twitter.com/5lRYyPFXcp— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) August 15, 2020
Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir, who scored 98 in the 2011 World Cup final and forged the match-winning partnership with Dhoni also chimed in his thoughts on the announcement.
From “India A” to “The India” our journey has been full of question marks, commas, blanks & exclamations. Now as you put a full stop to your chapter, I can tell u from experience that the new phase is as exciting and there’s no limit to DRS here!!! Well played @msdhoni @BCCI— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) August 15, 2020
Former England cricket team captain Micheal Vaughan calling him the 'mastermind' of India's triumphant 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup campaign.
The 2011 World Cup win was @sachin_rt farewell but masterminded by MS Dhoni ... What an incredible international career ... You could argue the greatest ever white ball captain & finisher ... Cheers for all the memories MS 👍👍— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) August 15, 2020
Retired Pakistani speedster Shoaib Akhtar, who runs a successful YouTube channel, paid homage to Dhoni and announced that he'll upload a video to talk more about his legacy.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni retires from international cricket. The story of cricket will never be complete without him. Video tribute coming up shortly. What a legend! #DhoniRetires #mahendrasinghdhoni pic.twitter.com/iFdFdHulRX— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) August 15, 2020
Former teammate Virender Sehwag paid a touching tribute to his good friend
To have a player like him,Mission Impossible. Na Koi Hai,Na Koi Tha, Na Koi Hoga MS ke jaisa. Players will come & go but there won’t be a calmer man like him. Dhoni with his connect with people having aspirations was like a family member to many cricket lovers. Om Finishaya Namah pic.twitter.com/glemkBUwWT— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) August 15, 2020
One of India’s most successful spinners and Dhoni's trusted allies on the field, Ravichandran Ashwin also thanked him and reminisced their triumphs together.
The legend retires in his own style as always, @msdhoni bhai you have given it all for the country. The champions trophy triumph, 2011 World Cup and the glorious @ChennaiIPL triumphs will always be etched in my memory. Good luck for all your future endeavours. #MSDhoni— Ashwin 🇮🇳 (@ashwinravi99) August 15, 2020
Former all-rounder-turned-commentator Irfan Pathan also paid his tribute to Dhoni.
It was a privilege to have played with a friend and a cricketer who gave many laurels to our country on the cricketing field, very very greatly done on your career @msdhoni #dhoniretires pic.twitter.com/ksfbedyDnQ— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) August 15, 2020
Former England cricketer-turned-pundit Kevin Pietersen welcomed Dhoni to 'the retirement club'.
Welcome to the retirement club, MSD!— Kevin Pietersen🦏 (@KP24) August 15, 2020
What a magical career! 🤝
Cricket analyst and commentator Harsha Bhogle paid a short but powerful homage to Dhoni.
Unforgettable in blue. See you in yellow. #MSDhoni— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) August 15, 2020
Dhoni’s impact transcended beyond the field, as evident from the outpouring of love and gratitude he’s received from celebrities.
Immense respect for M.S Dhoni for not just being an outstanding player but also setting an exceptional example with his conduct and journey, on & beyond field https://t.co/cuRg79nUwP— Yami Gautam (@yamigautam) August 15, 2020
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Dibyangshu Sarkar