A lot of speculations have been made regarding MS Dhoni's retirement since he called it quits from Tests cricket © Getty Images
A lot of speculations have been made regarding MS Dhoni’s retirement since he called it quits from Tests cricket © Getty Images

India’s limited-overs skipper MS Dhoni has completed 11 years in cricket. A celebrated cricketer all over the country, he has won every coveted Trophy for the nation. Unfortunately, with some recent series losses, he has been criticised severely by some fans and media demanding for his ouster. The Jharkhand lad made it to the national team in India’s tour of Bangladesh in 2004. He made a big statement only in his fifth match with an aggressive 148 off 123 balls against arch rivals Pakistan at Visakhapatnam. Dhoni became an instant hit among his fans and former players as he had a willingness to learn and played aggressively. His hard hitting earned him a reputation quickly. He became the captain of the side in 2007 and led the nation to a memorable win in the inaugural edition of ICC World T20 in South Africa. Ever since then, he has been the flag bearer of the nation of over eight years. The pressure of being MS Dhoni is known to the world. Or is it? Do we give him enough breathing space so that he can soak in the burden to carry the hopes of a cricket-crazy nation? The answer would sadly be NO.

When Dhoni became the captain of the team in all formats, he still had the guidance of the likes of Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman. He had a great run in Tests, taking India to numero uno position in 2009. This was not solely his success but the hard work of the players from India’s “golden period’. Following their retirements, Dhoni continued to taste success in both limited-overs formats, which he had excelled by that time, but he looked out of sorts in whites. His decision making lacked instincts and as a result the team lost a number of overseas Tests from 2011 to 2014. Of course, this was not his fault alone, as the team was going through a transition phase. On the flip side, he still managed to bring laurels to the nation with a relatively young side, in the limited-overs format by winning the ICC Champions Trophy and a tri-series in West Indies in 2013; he led India to the final of the ICC World T20 2014 and, semi-finals of the ICC World Cup (2015) and ICC World T20 (2016). Without doubt, he is the best finisher of the game for India and has carved players for limited-overs cricket by giving them enough opportunities and confidence. He excels in shorter formats because he likes the risk being involved in the sport and backs his gut feelings to take unusual decisions. Yes, his decisions have started to look obsolete off late, but we all know he has it in him to be back at his best any time. His sharp mindset, awareness of the game and presence of mind keeps him in good shape even in his mid-30s. He is still fit enough to run hard and make quick stumping when required.

He can still stretch his career till the next World Cup even if he quits as a captain. At present, the team has no substitute of his calibre if one considers the dual role of wicketkeeper and finisher. He can even nurture young talents under him who can take up his role and serve for the country for long. Big players like Sourav Ganguly have come from behind to make a comeback for the team in their last phase and retired on a high so there is no doubt why MSD cannot.  The spectators and media need to realize that a lot of planning and thought process goes before a player says goodbye to their respective games. The way he responded to the question of his retirement by an Australian reporter after India’s exit from the World T20 shows he is in no mood to quit; let us respect his decision. Let us leave him alone. He will definitely give up on captaincy or as a player if he feels the need to. Unnecessary speculations will be of no use till then.