MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh are probably two of the biggest names in Indian cricket in the 21st century. In fact, they were the heart of the white-ball sides, in particular, for a major part as well. Both individually and as a pair, the duo have been match-winners for the ‘Men in Blue’.
While Yuvraj who last played international cricket in 2017 has announced his retirement from international cricket, we may have seen the last of Dhoni as well. But with the former Indian skipper, you can never predict. However, there have been calls for the Ranchi-born superstar to retire for some time now. Yuvraj was also under the scanner and could’ve retired a lot earlier.
Thus, here we take a look at five instances or games where either or both Dhoni and Yuvraj could’ve retired in the past. These instances include both ODIs and T20Is.
Against New Zealand – Vizag, 2016 (ODI)
MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo Source: Twitter)
This game against New Zealand which was a series decider was eventually MS Dhoni’s last game as full-time captain in white-ball cricket. Though he didn’t announce it instantly, by the time India played their next white-ball game, it was January 2017 and he had quit captaincy.
In that game, India won the toss and opted to bat first. On a tricky surface, they made 269 on the back of half-centuries from Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. Dhoni contributed with 41 as well. The bowlers responded beautifully as New Zealand were shot out for a mere 79. In the end, India won the series 3-2.
That could’ve been a good time for MS Dhoni to call it quits. He had led the team to a win and bowing out as skipper could’ve been an icing on the cake. Moreover, he had struggled to get going in that series. Thus, it might not have been a bad time to call it a day.
Against England – Cuttack, 2017 (ODI)
MS Dhoni & Yuvraj Singh. (Photo Source: Twitter)
This was the game when cricket fans went into a tizzy and it seemed like there was a time machine. Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni rolled back the clock and treated everyone around the world with some splendid batting, just like they used to many years back.
The duo joined hands with India in deep trouble at 25/3. They did take their time to settle down but once they got their eye in, it was carnage in Cuttack. There was no one who could stop the duo. Yuvraj who was making a comeback to the ODI side after three years registered his highest ODI score (150) while Dhoni scored his first ton in over three years.
They shared a mammoth partnership of 256 runs for the fourth wickets as they set the launchpad for India to get to a huge total. India won a close game and eventually sealed the three-match ODI series
Both of them were struggling at that point in time in their careers and there couldn’t have been a better to bid adieu to the game. They could’ve signed off with their respective tons which is still their last three-digit scores. Thus, both Dhoni and Yuvraj could’ve hung up their boots after rolling back the clock in that game.
Against England – Bengaluru, 2017 (T20I)
MS Dhoni. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Both MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh have been great T20 players. Time and again, they have proved that they are destructive batsmen and can win games on their own. While Yuvraj had a good T20I record, it was very surprising to see Dhoni not have a fifty in T20 internationals for over a decade.
However, he broke that jinx in early 2017. After the riveting high-scoring ODI series against England, the three-match T20I series was nicely poised at 1-1 when the teams reached Bengaluru for the decider. The earlier two games had been low scoring ones. However, it wasn’t the case in the final game.
Batting first, India lost Virat Kohli early but KL Rahul and Suresh Raina stabilized things. However, Rahul was dismissed with the score reading 65/2. MS Dhoni walked in at No. 4 and controlled the innings. He scored his first-ever T20 international fifty as his 56 along with Raina’s 63 and a 10-ball blitz from Yuvraj where he scored 27 helped India get over 200. After threatening to chase this total down, England fell off the cliff and were bowled out for 127 as they lost their last eight wickets for eight runs.
That might’ve been a really good time for both Dhoni and Yuvraj to bid adieu to the game. If not both formats, at least in T20Is, with the next World T20 only in 2020. While Yuvraj went on to play just one T20I later, Dhoni has blown hot and cold and has been in and out of the T20 squad.
Against Australia – Chennai, 2017 (ODI)
MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya. (Photo Source: Twitter)
In 2017, MS Dhoni was in good form. He had scored a ton against England, he had a decent Champions Trophy and he did well in Sri Lanka as well where he helped India chase down some tricky targets from difficult positions. Dhoni was hitting the ball well.
In the first game (which was in Chennai) of the five-match ODI series against Australia, India found themselves in some early trouble. They were 11/3 which soon turned into 87/5. That’s when MS Dhoni came to the rescue. Along with Hardik Pandya, the former skipper resurrected the innings and put it back on track. He scored a brilliant 79 as he helped India get to 281. Rain reduced the chase to 21 overs (target 164) but the Aussies couldn’t hunt it down.
While Pandya was the player of the match, Dhoni wasn’t too far behind. Thus, there couldn’t have been a better venue for Dhoni to bid adieu to the game. He has a special attachment with Chennai due to the IPL and he would’ve got a massive send-off.
Against Afghanistan (Asia Cup) – Dubai, 2018 (ODI)
MS Dhoni is back as captain. (Photo Source: Twitter)
This game against Afghanistan saw MS Dhoni don the captain’s hat once again. With most senior players sitting out before the final, Dhoni was given the captaincy. This was a landmark game as it was his 200th ODI as captain. Thus, it was a special occasion.
On the back of Mohammad Shahzad’s brilliant ton and Mohammad Nabi’s 64, Afghanistan posted 252 in their 50 overs. India got off to a great start but soon lost their way. Dhoni walked into bat at No. 4 and failed as well. However, he did get a harsh decision and India had used up their review by then. Ravindra Jadeja and Kedar Jadhav took India close and eventually, the game ended in a dramatic tie.
Thus, with Dhoni as captain and the game ending in a tie, it couldn’t have been more apt for the former Indian skipper to bow out. In fact, he had started his captaincy career with a tie as well – against Pakistan in the World T20 in 2007. Thus, Dhoni could’ve opted to retire after that Asia Cup game and allowed some other youngster to break into the squad.
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