One of the finest cricketers the world has ever seen, MS Dhoni called it quits in international cricket on August 15, 2020, bringing down curtains to his illustrious career. However, former India fielding coach R Sridhar had now revealed that Dhoni had already made up his mind to retire from international cricket during the 2019 ODI World Cup. In his book, ‘Coaching Beyond- My days with the Indian cricket team, Sridhar revealed a conversation Dhoni had with Rishabh Pant that made him realise that the veteran wicket-keeper batter had decided to hang his boots.
Revealing an unheard tale, Sridhar said that on the morning of the reserve day of the semi-final between India and New Zealand, the wicket-keeper batter told Pant that he “doesn’t want to miss his last bus”.
“I can now reveal that at the time of the interview with the BCCI, which I attended from Antigua, I was reasonably certain that for all practical purposes, MS had played his last match for the country. He hadn’t announced it, of course, but I will tell you why I knew. On the morning of the reserve day in our World Cup semifinal against New Zealand in Manchester, I was the first person at the breakfast hall. I was nursing my coffee when MS and Rishabh walked in, picked up their stuff and joined me at my table.”
“New Zealand had only a couple of overs to bat out and we’d start our innings thereafter, so the match would end reasonably early. Rishabh told MS in Hindi, ‘Bhaiyya, some of the guys are planning to leave for London today itself privately. Would you be interested?’ MS replied, ‘No, Rishabh, I don’t want to miss my last bus drive with the team,” Sridhar revealed in the book, as quoted by Indian Express.
The match indeed turned out to be MS Dhoni’s last as India were beaten by New Zealand in the semi-final, bowing out of the competition. Dhoni had kept the team in the hunt before being run-out by Martin Guptill in what was termed as the ‘game-changing’ moment by experts.
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