BCCI to host a farewell match for MS Dhoni?
MS Dhoni shocked the cricket fraternity on Saturday evening after he announced his retirement from international cricket. He announced the decision through an Instagram post at 7.29 pm on India's 73rd independence day. One of the stalwarts of the sport, Dhoni last played for India in the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup.
Tributes have poured for the former Indian captain from all across the world. There have been thousands of tweets that BCCI received requesting the board to host a farewell international match for the Indian legend. Across the border, even Shoaib Akhtar felt that Dhoni could have continued till the 2021 T20 World Cup. He also echoed the sentiments of the fans on having a farewell game for him.
"India will be geared up to give him a farewell game, trust me. If he doesn't want it, it is a different thing, but India will be ready. The whole stadium will be booked for him to play a couple of T20 matches and then go after that," Shoaib said in a YouTube show before adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi may request him to continue. "You never know, the Prime Minister may call him and request him to play the T20 World Cup. That is also possible. Imran Khan was asked by General Zia-ul-Haq not to leave cricket after 1987, and he played. You cannot say no to the Prime Minister."
This might be far from speculation. A BCCI official has confirmed that the board is looking to organise a farewell match for the cricket legend after the conclusion of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 where Dhoni will once again turn up for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
Keep the fans' hopes alive to watch Dhoni for the one last time in the India blue, the official told IANS, "There is no international series right now, maybe after IPL we will see what can be done because Dhoni has done a lot for the nation and he deserves all the respect. We always wanted to have a farewell match for him but Dhoni is a different player. He announced his retirement when nobody was thinking of it."
The official also clarified that the board hasn't spoken to Dhoni about the farewell match, however, irrespective of his agreement, there will be a felicitation ceremony for the 39-year-old.
"We will speak to him during the IPL and that would be the right place to get his opinion about a match or series. Well, there will be a proper felicitation ceremony for him no matter if he agrees on it or not. That will be our honour to felicitate him," the official added.
Earlier, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren had requested the BCCI to organise the farewell match in his hometown Ranchi.
One of the greatest wicketkeeper-batsmen of all-time, Dhoni arguably is India's greatest captain. Under his leadership, India has won the 2007 T20 World Cup, 2011 World Cup, 2013 Champions Trophy and also reached the pinnacle of rankings in Test cricket. In addition to this, Dhoni has two Asia Cups. His success with CSK in IPL is another story.