New Delhi: Mahendra Singh Dhoni quit as India’s limited overs captain Wednesday after a decade-long spell as skipper in which he led his team to victory in the ODI and T20 World Cups.
The Indian board said the inspirational wicketkeeping batsman would still be available for selection for the upcoming series against England but did not say who would replace him as captain.
“Mahendra Singh Dhoni has informed the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) that he wishes to step down as the captain of the Indian Cricket Team from the One Day Internationals and the T20 Internationals formats of the game,” said a statement.
“On behalf of every Indian cricket fan and the BCCI, I would like to thank MS Dhoni for his outstanding contribution as the captain of the Indian team across all formats,” added board chief executive Rahul Johri.
“Under his leadership, Indian team has touched new heights and his achievements will remain etched forever in the annals of Indian cricket.”
He is expected to be succeeded by Virat Kohli, who took over as Test skipper after Dhoni retired from five-day matches in December 2014.
During his spell in charge of the limited overs side, Dhoni captained India to victory in the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa.
His finest hour came four years later when the team won the 50 overs World Cup against Sri Lanka on home turf.
However his position had come under scrutiny more recently after India were knocked out of last year’s World T20 in the semi-final despite being favourites as tournament hosts.
A former ticket inspector on India’s railways, Dhoni made his international debut in December 2004 and soon established a reputation for his flamboyant stroke playing, in particular his trademark “helicopter” shot.
In one of his first international appearances in April 2005, he smashed 148 off 123 balls against old foes Pakistan in Visakhapatnam.
He made his Test debut later that year in Chennai, the first of 90 Tests in which he scored 4,876 runs at an average of just over 38. His 27 victories in charge of the Test team is a record for an Indian captain.
His swashbuckling style and leadership qualities earned him the captaincy of India’s T20 team after senior players like Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar opted out of the first ever T20 World Cup in 2007.
His success in South Africa landed him the job as captain of the ODI side and he built a reputation over the years for an ice-cold temperament.
Despite his team’s disappointing showing in last year’s T20 World Cup, Dhoni voiced confidence he would still be fit enough to play in the next 50 over World Cup in England in 2019.
He has so far played 283 ODIs, with a batting average of nearly 51 while he has also appeared in 73 T20 internationals.
Batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, who was part of the 2011 ODI World Cup winning team under Dhoni, said it was a day to “celebrate his successful captaincy”.
“Congratulations to MSD on a wonderful career as a captain leading India to success in both T20 and ODI world cups,” Tendulkar said on Twitter. “Have seen him emerge from an aggressive player to a steady and decisive captain.”
Cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle tweeted that Dhoni had taken the “right decision.”
“Good thing about the decision is that there is still no competition for Dhoni. Would be keen to know who he consulted though! Suspect nobody,” he said.
England play three ODIs and three Twenty20s during their three-week tour, with the ODI opener starting January 15 in Pune.