Come on, MS Dhoni, you could have given the media a chance! © Getty Images
Come on, MS Dhoni, you could have given the media a chance! © Getty Images

MS Dhoni dropped a bombshell out of nowhere to shock the media, fans, and the entire world of cricket on December 30, 2014. Abhishek Mukherjee has a complaint or two.

Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement was so peaceful: he announced his exit months back, giving The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) sufficient time to call up West Indies, arrange a two-Test series, and make sure the Test ended at Wankhede. Tendulkar ensured Wankhede had the perfect ramp for his mother’s wheelchair; he prepared a list of people to thank; and (just in case) had asked Virat Kohli to remind him in case he forgotten to thank the pitch.

That was what you call a media-friendly retirement. Every bit was planned to the end. Cool infographics were prepared in advance; everyone had something to say; and people became overnight celebrities if they managed to escape without a reaction on the man they called God.

Sourav Ganguly had announced beforehand. It was still a low-key affair, though MS Dhoni had asked him to lead in the final session. Anil Kumble had dropped a bombshell the same series, retiring at tea on Day Five in the third Test, but that probably had to do more with injury. Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman had announced their exits off the focus, after and before Test series respectively.

That is how you retire. Give the media ample time to write accolades, interview people (however irrelevant they were), prepare and schedule articles, and give people time to react. Not like this.

It was typical of Dhoni: not caring about the world. His role, his stature in the history of Indian Test cricket will be evaluated (to a greater extent, that is — he has probably been the most discussed Indian Test cricketer over the past five years) in years to come. His resilience, his determination to stick to his decisions, his near-ridiculous poise and calm irrespective of the match condition seemed almost unreal.

As does his retirement decision: out of nowhere. Nobody expected it. Nobody. Not the commentators. Not the anchors on the post-match show. Not the journalists at post-match conference. It came as a BCCI press release. Just like that. Nobody had got a whiff.

Come on, Dhoni, is that even fair? Throughout your career you make a mockery of batting styles. You hardly spoke (let alone celebrated) when they travelled through the city in an open bus following the ICC World T20 2007. India won the World Cup. You shaved your head. How more unconventional can you get? We did not even get time to prepare nice, cool, kick-arse SEO-friendly headlines.

I know you are having a laugh somewhere now. We, the media, have hounded you throughout your career, especially since the whitewash in England in 2011. “Dhoni is too defensive and too obstinate and this and that and whatnot.”

Was this was your payback time? Talk normally at the press conference (be honest: were you laughing to yourself while all that happened?), drop the bombshell, and have a quiet laugh at the cost of the humble, honest, hard-working media, thrusting frantic workload on them as the year comes to an end?

This is our grrrrrrr moment. I hope BCCI sets up a rule that makes sure everyone announces their retirements at least a month in advance.



PS: So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Complete coverage of MS Dhoni’s Test retirement

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Chief Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs here and can be followed on Twitter here.)