In typical MS Dhoni fashion, he unexpectedly announced his retirement via an Instagram post on Saturday evening.
“Thanks a lot for ur love and support throughout.from 1929 hrs consider me as Retired (sic),” he wrote in the caption.
Despite being a short post, there was a lot to unpack in the statement, including the informal tone and emotional imagery. And soon after, Suresh Raina — Dhoni’s long-time friend and teammate with Indian as well as Chennai Super Kings — made an announcement (kind of) on his account.
“It was nothing but lovely playing with you, @mahi7781. With my heart full of pride, I choose to join you in this journey. Thank you India. Jai Hind,” Raina said, joining his captain in international retirement.
Unconfirmed theories have made the rounds since the announcement by Dhoni mentioned 1929 hrs. Some said it was the time India lost the semi-final at Old Trafford at 2019 World Cup (roughly, the match ended at 1925 hrs). Some others said it was the hour of sunset at the southern most part of India, with Dhoni, Raina and Co in Chennai when the announcement was made.
Well those might just remain theories until we hear from Dhoni, CSK vice-captain Raina has said that the choice of date was significant too.
“We had already made up our minds to retire on Saturday (August 15),” Raina is quoted as saying by Dainik Jagran.
“Dhoni’s jersey number is 7 and mine is 3 - put it together and it makes 73. And on August 15, India completed 73 years of independence, so there couldn’t have been a better day.”
It is also worth noting Dhoni’s love and respect of the army. He holds the rank of an honorary lieutenant colonel in the parachute regiment of the territorial army and has never hid his admiration. The use of 1929 hrs (as well as the choice of Independence Day) reinforced that.
“After announcing our retirement, we hugged and cried a lot,” Raina added.
There was also a suggestion that came from Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings.
“It was the hour of the sunset at the southern-most part of the country. I think that is why he did it at that time,” Kasi Viswanathan, a CSK official, was quoted as saying by Mumbai Mirror.
The newspaper report also said that even CSK boss N Srinivas was unaware of Dhoni’s decision.
After some time inside the dressing room, people say Dhoni sneaked out for a while before returning. Viswanathan confronted him with his boss’ query – his query too – and Dhoni replied in the affirmative. “When did you do that? Viswanathan asked. “At 1929 hours,” Dhoni replied. “On my Insta.”— Via Mumbai Mirror
The 39-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman is India’s most successful captain winning the 2011 World Cup final win on home soil and also guided them to victory in the inaugural T20 World Cup final and the Champions Trophy. He last played in the 2019 World Cup, where he was run out, much like in his debut match in 2004.