Gagan Khoda: Dhoni knew when the right time to retire is

“He is one of the most sorted cricketers I have seen,” says the former India selector about M. S. Dhoni, who announced his retirement from international cricket on Saturday.

After the 2019 World Cup in England, where India lost to New Zealand in the semifinals, there was a lot of speculation about Dhoni’s retirement (File Photo).   -  Getty Images

Former India selector Gagan Khoda isn’t surprised by Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s decision to hang up his boots. Having seen him for years, Khoda knew the former India captain would call it quits when the time is right.

“Dhoni has a brain of his own. He is one of the most sorted cricketers I have seen. He is completely aware of everything that he wants to do. He is a class cricketer,” Khoda, who until recently was a national selector, told Sportstar.

“His retirement is not a shock to me, because he knew when the right time to retire is. He is not one who would go on and on. He retired pretty gracefully,” Khoda said.

READ | Pathan to M.S. Dhoni, Suresh Raina: Thanks for the memories, boys!

After the 2019 World Cup in England, where India lost to New Zealand in the semifinals, there was a lot of speculation about Dhoni’s retirement. That he spent more than a year away from the game only raised further question marks on his future.

In a press conference in Mumbai last year, then-chief national selector M. S. K. Prasad even told reporters that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) would look beyond Dhoni and back youngsters like Rishabh Pant. Prasad also claimed that Dhoni had been kept in the loop.

But Khoda categorically stated there was no message given to Dhoni. “Till the time he hadn’t retired, he was one of the players who were very much available for selection. When you are a selector, everybody is looked at the same way. There is nothing like Dhoni, Virat (Kohli). So, it is up to the player to decide when he wants to stop. He was always in the pool of cricketers,” he said.

READ | Dhoni retires: Run-out in first international match, run-out in the last

“Dhoni perfectly knew what he had to do. After playing so much cricket, do you think that he needs to be told when to stop? Absolutely not,” the former Central Zone selector said.

Captain Cool to the cricketing fraternity, Dhoni was always particular about the team he wanted, but Khoda has fond memories of him. “Dhoni and Virat were the most understanding people I have seen. They will listen to each and everything in the meetings and there was never an ugly discussion. As selectors, we knew their mindset and it was always a constructive argument. They were always willing to listen.”

Having been a selector for a while, Khoda had the chance of knowing Dhoni closely, and as Captain Cool walks into retirement, Khoda agreed that Dhoni will always remain a special captain for India!

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