In every athlete’s career, the decision to stop representing one’s country is, arguably, the hardest decision to make. Some get it perfectly right, some struggle with knowing the right timing. Some get the privilege of bowing out in front of adoring fans, some walk into the sunset without much fanfare.
It is a tough decision each sportsperson takes in their career, and for better or worse, have to live with. The perfect farewell, if such a thing exists, is not always possible.
The idea that one of India’s greatest cricketers — MS Dhoni — will not play for India again after his announcement of retirement on 15 August 2020, is something fans are still coming to terms with. Arguably, the greatest captain Indian cricket has seen, will not be seen in India’s blue again.
Dhoni, 39, called time on his 16-year-old international career Saturday with a message on his Instagram post that read “From 1929hrs consider me as retired”.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India confirmed the news in a statement, saying: “The boy from Ranchi, who made his ODI debut in 2004, changed the face of Indian cricket with his calm demeanour, sharp understanding of the game and astute leadership qualities.”
Dhoni, dubbed ‘Captain Cool’ because of his unflappable style, will continue to lead his team Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League starting in the United Arab Emirates next month. He quit Tests in 2014 and has not played for the national side since India’s World Cup semi-final loss against New Zealand in England last year – his 350th one-day international.
Dhoni’s former teammate, at India as well as Chennai Super Kings, Irfan Pathan came up with a unique suggestion on Twitter on Saturday. What if, for charity as well as a farewell, retired Indian cricketers feature against the current team?
The former India all-rounder, who retired from all forms of the game in January 2020, came up with a XI of players who did not feature in a designated farewell match and it is a pretty strong team.
Irfan Pathan’s India XI of those who did not get a farewell match:
— via Irfan Pathan / Twitter
- Gautam Gambhir
- Virender Sehwag
- Rahul Dravid
- VVS Laxman
- Yuvraj Singh
- Suresh Raina
- MS Dhoni
- Irfan Pathan
- Ajit Agarkar
- Zaheer Khan
- Pragyan Ojha
“Imagine if that happens, it will be pure joy for the cricket lovers,” Pathan added.
Who would win such a match? The prospect of such an exhibition game is certainly exciting and would make for fascinating viewing.