Over and out.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni who launched the Indian cricket team to great heights called it a day on country's Independence Day, bringing his illustrious career spanning over 16 years to a halt.
The 39-year-old former Indian captain had everything in his kitty that the nation could've asked for and perhaps more. Under his able leadership, India not only dove into big tournaments with zeal and confidence but also made other teams look ordinary. 2007 World Twenty 20, 2013 Champions Trophy, No.1 in Test Rankings (2009), Asia Cup (2010, 2016) -- check, check, check, and check.
But one moment that has remained etched in the memories of every cricket fan in India was the night of 2011 50-over World Cup Finals at Wankhede Stadium. Dhoni, who hadn't had a good run in the tournament stepped up when it mattered and launched Nuwan Kulasekara for a whacking six over long-on to end India's 28-year-old wait and helped his team lift the coveted ICC World Cup trophy.
Apart from being calm and collected on the field in the tense of situations, "Captain Cool" kept wickets and kept them well. His intelligence coupled with his lightning-quick antics behind the wicket placed him in the elite list of one of the best wicketkeeper-batsman that the sport had ever seen.
It's really hard to sum up the journey that Ranchi-born cricketer has lived for Team India so MSD did that job himself. On August 15, Dhoni announced his retirement from the International cricket with a video montage in which he traced the ups and downs he faced along the way.
But perhaps what struck out from his farewell video was his decision to include his infamous run-out snippets. For a man, whose running between the wickets and awareness on the field have long been lauded by the close watchers of the sport, it felt like a gentle poke.
Dhoni debuted in the ODIs in 2004-05 with a duck, owing to a run-out against Bangladesh. His last match ever in the Blue jersey also saw a similar fate when India locked horns with the Kiwis in 2019 50-over World Cup in England.
A moment of brilliance on the field by New Zealander Martin Guptill denied India's chances of bringing the third World Cup home in a nail-biting semi-final at Old Trafford Stadium.
Team India lost the thrilling encounter by 18 runs when they failed to chase New Zealand's target of 240 after putting up a determined run chase.
A master of crunch situations, Dhoni played a slow yet calculated knock - one that let Jadeja play freely from the other end.
However, the hopes of everyone supporting the Men in Blue shattered in a million pieces when Dhoni chipped for a double. A slight hesitation between Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar Kumar saw the former struggling to get back to the striker's end. Guptill, out of nowhere, charged in and returned a lightning-quick throw directly aimed at the stumps that saw Dhoni short of the crease.
And just like that, the gap between Dhoni's bat and the safety became the most heart-breaking picture on the Indian Internet in 2019.
As soon as the news of him hanging up his boots surfaced on the Internet, his fans gathered on social media with a biting reminder that even the GOATS can have an off day on the field, thereby bringing his career to a complete circle.
Dhoni started his career with run out. Dhoni ended his career with run out. Still Dhoni will remain the fastest runner between the wickets.— Self Isolated Sunil (@1sInto2s) August 15, 2020
From a run-out to a run-out From never being a captain to being a World Cup winning captainFrom an unconventional batsman to a match winning batsmanFrom a swashbuckling youngster to a responsible mentorWe experienced MAHENDRA SINGH DHONI❤❤❤@msdhoni #MSDhoni— Shreeraj Deshmukh (@MarathaDeshmukh) August 15, 2020
MS Dhoni retires...1st ODI for India run-out...last ODI for India (Newzeland World cup Semi-final last year) run-out....irony....Still remember the 2007 world cup and 2011 world cup...so many moments this person as given..#thaladhoni pic.twitter.com/1nhqU3oGxy— Aswathaman (@Aswatha79789471) August 15, 2020
From day 1 to This day.when he got run Out, he went back to pavilion with a smile. WC19 He went back to pavilion with head down and sad face. #MSDhoni #dhoniretires #Dhoni pic.twitter.com/tVxI8IEkPB— Mohit (@Mohittt05) August 15, 2020
Dhoni started his career with run out.Dhoni ended his career with run out.Still Dhoni will remain the fastest runner between the wickets#Msdhoni#Dhoni #captaincool pic.twitter.com/COkFVtqaa8— (@withnikkhil) August 15, 2020
But this isn't the end.
"Thala" fans will get to see Dhoni in action, perhaps one last time. MSD will be back on the twenty-two yards, donning the yellow jersey later this year, and lead Chennai Super Kings into battle in the upcoming IPL in UAE.
CSK will be the eying the fourth tournament win, and who better to bring the glory than Mahi himself.