On This Day: MS Dhoni plays his last Test innings

Known for his calm mind, Dhoni captained India to three premier ICC titles, the No. 1 Test spot, the ICC World Twenty20 in 2007 and the ICC ODI World Cup in 2011.

MS Dhoni of India leaves the field on day five of the Third Test match between Australia and India at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 30, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has retired from Test cricket after the third Test between India and Australia concluded in a draw at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Tuesday.

The Indian captain’s battling unbeaten 24 played a key role in his side saving the Test.

Dhoni’s decision came as a surprise since there is one more Test remaining in the series. He did not make the announcement at his post-match press conference.

Even as the correspondents were typing their reports, the bombshell came from the BCCI.

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The Board said: “M.S. Dhoni has chosen to retire from Test cricket with immediate effect in order to concentrate on the ODI and Twenty20 formats. One of India’s greatest Test captains under whose leadership India became the No. 1 team in the Test Rankings, Dhoni has decided to retire from Test cricket citing the strain of playing all formats of Cricket.”

Virat Kohli will lead India in the final Test beginning in Sydney on January 6. Australia has already regained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with a 2-0 lead.

The 33-year-old Dhoni led India in 60 Tests and has the most number of victories (27) by an Indian captain. He took over from Anil Kumble in 2008. Under his leadership, India reached a historic No. 1 Test ranking in December 2009, a position it held for 18 months.

Known for his calm mind, Dhoni captained India to three premier ICC titles, the No. 1 Test spot, the ICC World Twenty20 in 2007 and the ICC ODI World Cup in 2011.

An often explosive middle-order batsman, the wristy Dhoni made 4,876 runs in 90 Tests at 38.09. As a largely safe if not flamboyant wicket-keeper for the most part, he held 256 catches and effected 38 stumpings.

Remarkably, he shouldered the daunting workload of being a wicketkeeper batsman and a captain longer than any other cricketer in the game’s history.

Since 2011, however, India suffered several setbacks away from home under his captaincy. In this period, India lost 13 of the 22 Tests it played on foreign soil, winning only two.

With the bat, Dhoni achieved his highest Test score of 224 against Australia in Chennai in 2013.

This article was first published in The Hindu on December 30, 2014.

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