Dhoni quits Test cricket abruptly

Decision comes after India suffer another away series defeat

Dhoni quits Test cricket abruptly

An era in Indian cricket came to an abrupt, unexpected end when Mahendra Singh Dhoni announced his retirement from Test cricket with immediate effect, shortly after India drew their third Test match here against Australia.

Dhoni, India’s most successful captain, attended the post-match press conference but didn’t mention his decision to quit Tests.

The news came through a press release from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) not long after his press-do, citing “strain of playing all formats of the game” as the reason behind the retirement.

The 33-year-old, however, will continue to lead in ODIs and T20s.

“The BCCI, while respecting the decision of M S Dhoni to retire from Test cricket, wishes to thank him for his enormous contribution to Test cricket and the laurels that he has brought to India,” the release added.

Vice-captain Virat Kohli, who stood in for Dhoni in the first Test at Adelaide, will take over the reins and his job as the full-time Test skipper will begin with the final Test in Sydney, starting January 6.

Dhoni was unbeaten on 24 when the Boxing Day Test was called off with four overs left.
While the official line for Dhoni’s move to retire was his excess workload, the timing has been surprising, and he is not even injured as confirmed by BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel.

It’s not been an easy time for Dhoni in Test matches and the drawn third Test meant another series had been lost under his command, with Australia taking an unassailable 2-0 lead with one match to play.

This was Dhoni’s sixth successive away series loss as captain, starting with the 2011 tour of England. After Kohli got India closer to victory in the Adelaide Test, calls to replace Dhoni with the 26-year-old have been growing stronger.

The alleged dressing-room spat between Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan during the second Test in Brisbane, which Dhoni later dismissed as a figment of imagination, as well as his comments about “unrest” in the dressing room, kept the team under media scrutiny.

Kohli’s no-holds-barred press meet on the third day of the Boxing Day Test, where he said he had no respect for Mitchell Johnson and some of the other home players, hasn’t gone down too well here and as well as back home.

While the Australians were clearly targeting Kohli on the final day as India set out to draw the third Test, batsmen like Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, who are not known to talk on the field, weren’t spared by the home players. 

While all these remain in the realm of speculation, the fact remains that Dhoni has been carrying a heavy workload as a skipper in all formats of the game, besides being the wicket-keeper.

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