From Michael Clarke to Rohit Sharma, the global cricket fraternity, on Thursday, woke up singing paeans to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, hours after India’s most successful skipper sprang a surprise by stepping down from limited overs captaincy.
The 35-year-old Dhoni, under whom India have won two World Cups and a Champions Trophy title, stunned the fraternity on Wednesday night by relinquishing the captaincy, barely 11 days before the ODI series against England.
Australia’s former captain Clarke wrote on his twitter handle, “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 to Indian cricket. It is now time for @imVkohli to captain all three forms in my opinion. He is a superstar and is ready for the challenge.”
Former England skipper Michel Vaughan described Dhoni as one of the greatest captains to have ever led a cricket team. “Even one of the greatest captains of all time decides enough is enough. Well done @msdhoni on an incredible leadership term,” Vaughan said.
Pakistan’s dashing all-rounder Shahid Afridi praised Dhoni for shaping the Indian cricket team. “Huge credit to #MSDhoni for shaping the Indian team. Great captain and leader, big inspiration for cricketers around the world.”
Back home, the likes of Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma, who blossomed under Dhoni’s leadership, waxed eloquence on their first India captain.
“Thank you @msdhoni bhai for being a leader that I have learnt a lot from. Thank you my first international captain!” Rahane tweeted.
In a series of tweets, he added, “It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it. A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts.”
Dhoni’s decision has now paved the way for Test captain Virat Kohli to take over the mantle of the limited overs team as well.
Sharma said on the social networking site, “A true leader @msdhoni he influenced so many cricketing careers including mine when he asked me to open in the ICC Champions Trophy. Will miss you at the helm.”
Limited overs specialist Suresh Raina said, “India’s most successful captain @msdhoni who translated his vision into reality. Inspired many to dream more, do more and become more. Salute!
India left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha said, “As a captain, the achievements you have are outstanding & exemplary. You have set such high standards for the generations to follow.”
In his unfinished limited overs career, Dhoni has so far scored 9110 runs in 283 ODIs at an average of 50.89 with 183 not out being his highest score. Besides, the wicket-keeper batsman has made 1112 runs from 73 T20 Internationals.
“Take a bow @msdhoni. To lead India for 9 years with such wonderful results, India was really blessed to have you as captain,” said former India cricketer Mohammad Kaif.
Another India cricketer, Irfan Pathan, tweeted, “Any amount of words will be less to describe his legacy as the captain of Indian team @BCCI Mahi @msdhoni incredibly well done.”
On Wednesday night, sacked BCCI president Anurag Thakur congratulated also Dhoni on his captaincy tenure.
“I congratulate @msdhoni on an illustrious career as Captain who led #TeamIndia to memorable victories in T20 WorldCup 2007 & 2011 @ICC WorldCup! “ Thakur tweeted.
Former chairman of selection committee, Kris Srikkanth, said, “Sign of a true leader is to know when to pass the baton! Thank you for the entertainment skipper you are an #inspiration @msdhoni #livinglegend.”
Away from cricket, ace shooter Gagan Narang and actor Sushant Singh Rajput, who portrayed Dhoni in his biopic, also lauded the player.
“3 ICC titles and some glorious highs. Captain @msdhoni thank you for the memories! Wish you finish on a sparkling note,” Narang tweeted.
Rajput added: “There is no one like you. You’re the reason for millions of smiles. Take a bow my Captain.