New Delhi: Indian legends Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar led the world of cricket in paying tributes to Mahendra Singh Dhoni after “Captain Cool” quit as the One-day International (ODI) and T20 skipper.
The Ranchi stumper stepped down on Wednesday but made himself available for selection for the three ODIs and T20s against England starting on January 15. Dhoni had already retired from Test cricket in December 2014.
Not only Tendulkar and Gavaskar, themselves cricket legends, and Dhoni’s colleagues and team-mates, but former England and Australian skippers Michael Vaughan and Michael Clarke lauded him as India’s most successful captain.
Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar recounted the moments when Dhoni captained the country to T20 and ODI World Cup triumphs.
“Congratulations to MSD on a wonderful career as a captain leading India to success in both T20 and ODI World Cups. Have seen him emerge from an aggressive player to a steady and decisive captain. It’s a day to celebrate his successful captaincy and respect his decision. Wish MSD the very best,” Tendulkar wrote on Twitter.
Gavaskar told NDTV that if Dhoni had called it a day, he would have protested outside his house, and added that the World Cup-winning captain is still a destroyer with the bat.
“If he had quit as a player, then I would have been the first one outside his house, having a dharna, asking him to make a comeback. As a player, he is still a destroyer. He changes fortunes of the game in a single over. India needs him as a player very badly. I am happy that he has decided to stay on as a player,” Gavaskar said.
“Virat would definitely use him at number four or five because having him further down the order doesn’t make any sense. Yes, he is a finisher but he can play a big innings at four or five and still end up as a finisher,” Gavaskar said.
“The wicketkeeping will be a lot easier because he will not be thinking about the bowling changes and field placements, which can sometimes distract you,” Gavaskar added.
Dhoni’s contemporaries Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma and other players also heaped praise on him.
“Thank you @msdhoni bhai for being a leader that I have learnt a lot from. Thank you my first international captain!” Rahane wrote on Twitter.
Raina said: “India’s most successful captain who translated his vision into reality. Inspired many to dream more, do more and become more. Salute!”
Rohit Sharma wrote: “A true leader, he influenced so many cricketing careers, including mine when he asked me to open in the ICC Champions Trophy.”
Pacer Irfan Pathan lauded the Ranchi batsman: “Any amount of words will be less to describe his legacy as the captain of Indian team.”
Mohammed Kaif said India was blessed to have a leader like Dhoni.
“Take a bow @msdhoni. To lead India for 9 years with such wonderful results, India were really blessed to have you as #Captain,” Kaif tweeted.
Former India cricketer Madan Lal termed Dhoni’s decision as brave.
“I appreciate the decision. Dhoni has done very well as a captain as he has won most of the tournaments like ODI World Cup, T20 World Cup, Asia Cup. He has also helped India reach the number one spot in Test cricket. His record as captain is wonderful.”
Noted commentator and former batsman Sanjay Manjrekar stated: “I will remember Dhoni as a captain who got calmness of nerves and champion like performance on the big nights to Indian cricket.”
Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha said: “As a captain, the achievements you have are outstanding and exemplary. You have set such high standards for the generations to follow.”
Former India opener Aakash Chopra said: “You’d rarely see Dhoni’s picture hugging or carrying the trophy around…allowed others to take centre-stage — a priceless quality.”
Indian hockey skipper P.R. Sreejesh said: “Salute to the captain cool… time to achieve lots in a different role.”
“Even one of the greatest captains of all time decides enough is enough… Well done @msdhoni on an incredible leadership term,” wrote former England skipper Michael Vaughan.
Australia’s former captain Michael Clarke added Dhoni will go down as one of India’s most successful captains.
“I think @msdhoni will go down as one of India’s most successful captains. He is a great man and still has a lot to offer Indian cricket,” Clarke wrote.