India’s World Cup-winning coach Gary Kirsten said retirement was solely MS Dhoni’s call as speculations once again grow over the former captain’s future in international cricket.

Dhoni has not played a competitive game since India’s exit from the World Cup semi-final against New Zealand in July. He was expected to lead Chennai Super Kings in the IPL this year, but the 13th edition has been indefinitely postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dhoni’s teammates have also been uncertain when questioned about Dhoni’s return to the limited-overs setup. On Wednesday, #DhoniRetires was one of the top trends on Twitter.

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Kirsten, who was India’s coach in 2011 during the World Cup, wants Dhoni to be left alone.

“MS [Dhoni] is an incredible cricketer,” the former South Africa opener told Times of India.

‘Intelligence, calmness, power, athleticism, speed and a match winner that separates him from the others ... that puts him among the greatest sportspersons in the modern era. He [Dhoni] has earned the right to retire on his own terms and no one should dictate to him when that time is.”

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Kirsten also observed that current India captain Virat Kohli’s style of captaincy is not anything like Dhoni’s.

“It’s very different [Kohli’s captaincy] but equally effective for the Indian team,” Kirsten said.

Nine years have passed since Dhoni hit the winning six off Sri Lanka pacer Nuwan Kulasekara in Mumbai to send the country into raptures. Kirsten remembered how the pressure was through the roof throughout the World Cup and said it was a fantastic journey. He also said he might be open to coaching India in the future if things fall into place.