MS Dhoni has stepped down as captain of India’s limited-overs teams ahead of the ODIs and T20Is against England in January. He will still be available for selection as a wicketkeeper-batsman for the series, though, the BCCI said on Wednesday evening.
The selectors are meeting to pick the ODI and T20I squads on January 6 in Mumbai. The BCCI did not immediately name a successor for the matches against England, though Virat Kohli, who leads India in Test cricket, is the frontrunner for the job.
It is understood Dhoni, 35, communicated his decision to chairman of selectors MSK Prasad in Nagpur, where the Jharkhand side that is being mentored by Dhoni was playing Gujarat in the semi-finals of the Ranji Trophy. Dhoni was seen having a long conversation with Prasad during the tea break. “We all know his sense of integrity and patriotism, and he has got high clarity in thinking,” Prasad told media. “Probably he felt that is the best decision, so let us respect it.”
Dhoni’s manager Arun Pandey said the decision had not been impulsive. “You don’t take a decision like this overnight. It was well thought out. Dhoni thought this was the right time to step aside and continuing playing as wicketkeeper-batsman,” Pandey said. “His thinking was that he has built the crux of the team now and it is the right time to give up captaincy. He is not someone who would cling on to something. For him, the team’s interests are first and foremost.”
Dhoni had given up the Test captaincy in December 2014, when he retired from the format after the Melbourne Test. However, he stayed on as ODI and T20 international captain after having taken on those roles in 2007.
Dhoni was India’s most successful captain, leading the team to victory in the 2007 World T20 in South Africa, the 2011 World Cup in India, and the 2013 Champions Trophy in England. Dhoni captained India in 199 ODIs, of which he won 110 and lost 74. He was captain in 72 T20Is, of which India won 41 and lost 28. He was also India’s most successful Test captain, with 27 wins, 18 defeats and 15 draws.
Dhoni is also the only captain to have led India to ODI and T20I series wins in Australia, and an ODI series win in New Zealand.
He made 6633 ODI runs as captain at an average of 54 and a strike rate of 86. As captain in T20Is, Dhoni scored 1112 runs at a strike rate of 122.60. In Test cricket, he made 3454 runs at an average of 40.63.
“On the behalf of every Indian cricket fan and the BCCI, I would like to thank MS Dhoni for his outstanding contribution as the captain of the Indian team across all formats,” BCCI chief executive Rahul Johri said. “Under his leadership, Indian team has touched new heights and his achievements will remain etched forever in the annals of Indian cricket.”