MS Dhoni is widely regarded as one of the greatest captains in the history of the game. The former India wicketkeeper-batter was the first captain to have all the major trophies under his belt. He led the side to the inaugural 20-20 World Cup win in 2007, the ODI World Cup victory in 2011 and the Champions Trophy title two years later. He also secured the Test Mace twice during his captaincy in the longest format of the game.
The ‘Captain Cool’ announced his retirement from international cricket in 2020, having played his list last match during the World Cup 2019. However, India’s former fielding coach R Sridhar has now made a shocking revelation about how Dhoni had actually hinted that he had played his last match for India in a conversation with his wicketkeeping successor Rishabh Pant.
Sridhar revealed a conversation between the two wicketkeepers that took place during the reserve day of India’s World Cup semi-final against New Zealand.
“I can now reveal that at the time of the interview to the Indian Cricket Board, which I attended from Antigua, I was reasonably certain that for all practical purposes, MS had played his last match for the country. He hadn’t announced it, of course, but I will tell you why I knew. On the morning of the reserve day in our World Cup semifinal against New Zealand in Manchester, I was the first person at the breakfast hall. I was nursing my coffee when MS and Rishabh walked in, picked up their stuff and joined me at my table,” Sridhar wrote as he shared the story in his book, ‘Coaching Beyond- My days with the Indian cricket team’
I don’t want to miss my last bus drive with the team: MS Dhoni
“New Zealand had only a couple of overs to bat out and we’d start our innings thereafter, so the match would end reasonably early. Rishabh told MS in Hindi, ‘Bhaiyya, some of the guys are planning to leave for London today itself privately. Would you be interested?’ MS replied, ‘No, Rishabh, I don’t want to miss my last bus drive with the team.'”
Sridhar further stated that he never narrated the conversation to anyone out of ‘sheer respect’ for Dhoni. “I didn’t say a word to anyone about this conversation out of sheer respect for the man. He had taken me into confidence. I couldn’t shoot my mouth off. So, I didn’t utter a word not to Ravi, not to Arun, not even to my wife,” said Sridhar.
India lost the semi-final of the ODI World Cup 2019 by 18 runs, after MS Dhoni got run out in the second last over of the match. The former Indian captain had played a gritty knock of 50 off 72 deliveries, but got run out with the side needing 24 more runs to win in nine balls.