When a Dhoni fan goes to bed with #DhoniRetires trending on social media, it's definitely not a good day. Rumours galore. The next day, you wake up to #DhoniNeverTires and go through a whole new emotional roller-coaster ride. But seriously, aren't we done with these hide-and-seek games now? A fan's request: dear Mahi, you must go now.
The show must go on... As many other Dhoni fans, I kept assuming that Dhoni never tires and he's here to stay. “Petrol khatam hi nahi honda,” as the popular ad says. But alas! Your time on the field is up and the show has to go on without you.
On April 2, India won the 2011 Cricket World Cup and you became a national hero. Brilliant on-field tactics, a team player, a leader and a finisher, you quickly rose to every occasion and became the mastermind behind many Team India victories. Naming only a few, like 2007 ICC World Twenty20, the 2010 and 2016 Asia Cups, the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy won't do any justice to you. As a captain, you kept adding feathers in your cap with ease and glided with perfection throughout your career.
On April 2, India won the 2011 Cricket World Cup and Dhoni became a national hero. (Photo: Twitter)
From Team India captain to Chennai Super Kings' 'Thala Dhoni', you played all roles with a masterstroke. The Midas touch stole victory for the team out of nowhere. Winning just became a habit for you, MSD. Your tactful approach and mind games, packed with a powerful team that followed your lead, ensured that victory was never far behind.
Like many other players, your spotless career was marred by a few controversies, but as an ardent fan, nothing shook my belief in you. I always knew that when you are on the field, any target could be chased down and victory was effortless.
Why can't you gracefully step down and accept that your career as an ODI player is over? (Photo: Reuters)
But lately, these constant low scores, the on-field body language, the “I am not interested” look, the incidents of losing your cool, has made me think, is it worth it?
This suspense around you all the time is killing me now. On December 30, 2014, when you called it quits in Test cricket, like many other fans, I silently hoped that you stay on till WC 2019. But what was to follow next was even more disheartening. Your indifferent form with the bat subjected you to a lot of brickbats. You were under a lot of heat for showing no intent in most of the tournaments. Your finishing skills were under the scanner, your dazzling masterstrokes were missing. We are, and always will be, proud of your achievements, and hence we accepted your failures too.
Ever since the World Cup, you have been out of the scene. No news from any corner, and you have been seen everywhere but the field. So why do we have to go through this? Why can't you gracefully step down and accept that your career as an ODI player is over? You don't need to stay on and wait for one fabulous inning to prove that you are a legend. Your achievements speak volumes for your career and your failures need no justification. Then why this stubbornness? Your silence keeps the rumour mills abuzz with news of your retirement time and again. Frankly, you have kept us in the dark for too long.
You are known for encouraging young talent. Won't it be great to leave the spot that you have been holding for so long, for India to prepare a wicket-keeper batsman for future? It's painful to see #DhoniRetires trend on social media and heartening to see #DhoniNeverTires trend too. But believe me, there are people waiting to write a farewell message for their hero. And in such times, Sakshi Dhoni's angry tweet (which she later deleted) over these rumours saying "I understand Lockdown has made people mentally unstable!" is certainly not helping.
Screengrab from @SaakshiSRawat Twitter
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said only MS Dhoni would decide what he wanted to do in the future. MS Dhoni's childhood coach Keshav Banerjee urged the fans not to believe in rumours on social media, saying his ward will step away when he feels the time is right. Team India head coach Ravi Shastri said that MS Dhoni is a legend, won't impose himself on the team. Skipper Virat Kohli said in a media briefing, "When to stop playing cricket, is completely an individual decision. No one should give opinions regarding the matter.”
So when's the right time? Only you can answer that.
We will remain your fans forever, Mahi, even if you were to retire today. We are used to seeing you finish with a bang, and can't bear to see you walk out with a whimper. So, Dhoni, it's time now for you to go.