The video grab of Mahendra Singh Dhoni taking the match ball from the umpires after the third ODI against England at Headingley, Leeds went viral on social media after India’s eight-wicket loss had already generated a lot of heat.
“Is Dhoni retiring?” was the talking point as all and sundry began to wonder about the significance of the former India skipper walking away with the match ball despite India having lost the match. Dhoni asked for the ball from field umpires Bruce Oxenford (Australia) and Michael Gough (England) as the teams walked back towards the pavilion.
Team India coach Ravi Shastri dismissed all speculations on Dhoni’s retirement on Wednesday (July 18). “MS wanted to show the ball to Bharat Arun. He wanted to show him the wear and tear the ball had endured, to get a general idea of what the conditions were like,” Shastri clarified to TOI.
Social media was abuzz with speculation that the former India captain will soon bid a final goodbye to all formats of the game. “That’s rubbish. MS is not going anywhere,” Shastri confirmed.
Dhoni’s 59-ball 37 at Lord’s, in a game that India lost by 86 runs, came in for a lot of criticism with fans booing the World Cup-winning skipper during the chase.
Shastri reiterated that if criticism has to come Dhoni’s way, he might as well endure it. But that wouldn’t make him any less important than he is, given what he brings to the squad. “But right now, all this clamour is nonsense. He just wanted to show the ball to Arun to just have a look at it after close to 45 overs had been bowled,” he said.