Delhi: Legendary wicketkeeper-batter MS Dhoni not only surprised his fans and the cricketing fraternity with his decision to retire from Test cricket but also ‘shocked’ his teammates when he decided to hang his boots from the longer format of the game. Shedding light on Dhoni’s Test retirement, former Team India head coach Ravi Shastri revealed the exact story when former skipper came up to him and expressed his desire to address the team after the conclusion of the Boxing Day Test against Australia in Melbourne. Dhoni made an unforeseen call to quit Test cricket after he led India to a hard-fought draw versus Australia.
The 59-year-old Shastri, who was the Indian cricket team’s manager during the 2014 Australia tour, revealed that Dhoni had come to him after the draw and told him that he wanted to retire from the longest format. “I knew that the moment MS Dhoni finishes, Virat Kohli is the guy to lead the side. He (MS Dhoni) knew who was the next leader in line,” Shastri said during a special interaction with Star Sports on Sunday.
At the age of 33, Dhoni decided to quit Test cricket as Virat Kohli took over as the full-time (Test) captain during the fourth Test Down Under. “He was waiting for an opportune time to make the announcement. He knew how much his body could take and he wanted to prolong his white-ball career. When your body tells you it’s enough, it’s enough, there are no second thoughts about that,” Shastri added.
However, Dhoni continued leading Team India in the white-ball formats (ODI and T20I) before giving up the leadership role in 2017. Dhoni retired from international cricket on August 15, 2020. The Mumbaikar recalled the moment and revealed that nobody in the team was aware of Dhoni’s decision before he “casually” informed them of the same after the game.
“Well, it came as a surprise. He came to me and said ‘I want to say something to the boys’. I said ‘sure’. I thought he was going to say something about the draw. He comes out. I just saw the faces around the dressing room. Most of the boys were in a state of shock when MS made the announcement. But that’s MS for you,” Shastri said.
In 2017, Shastri replaced Anil Kumble as the Indian cricket team’s head coach and successfully completed a 4-year tenure in 2021. Shastri forged a great bond with Virat Kohli as the leadership group was in charge when India won Test series in Australia, led England 2-1 in an incomplete series earlier this year.
Rahul Dravid took over as India head coach after Shastri’s tenure came to an end after the completion of the 2021 T20 World Cup.