Is MS Dhoni planning to quit Test cricket?

NEW DELHI: Amid the euphoria of India’s elusive win at Lord’s in the second Test against England, a statement from skipper MS Dhoni got lost under a stockpile of statistics and Ishant Sharma carols. Dhoni, who once again masterminded a piece of history for India with a Test win at Lord’s after 28 years, has seen the view from the top in Tests, ODIs and T20s; but it seems the Indian skipper is now working on an exit plan. “It seems it will be my last at Lord’s, for sure ... so it’s definitely memorable.” That statement from the 33-year-old India skipper would have made heads turn had the team lost the Lord’s Test. But since it was a historic win delivered in style by Ishant, those words from Dhoni failed to draw any attention.
But that’s not the first time Dhoni has hinted at his possible exit. However, his suggestion this time has to be weighed differently – made at the age of 33. In January 2012, Dhoni – only captain to win every ICC trophy – had said something on the similar lines. But he was 30 then, and more than two years of international cricket takes enough out of you to change and make up your mind. “If I want to see the 2015 World Cup, I’ll have to retire from one of the formats,” Dhoni had said two and a half years ago. “It’s too early right now. I am not that old. I am just 30. There is still time. We will see by 2013, and by 2013, I mean the end of 2013.”
Nothing happened at the end of 2013; perhaps Dhoni’s mind and body held firm and allowed him to continue. But if Lord’s Test was the Indian skipper’s last, and he stressed on that with the phrase “for sure”, then it won’t be wrong to expect an ‘exit’ statement after the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. It’s unlikely that Dhoni will quit all formats together, as India and BCCI will want him to give time to the new skipper to ease himself into the captain’s role. And that would mean quitting one of the two formats – Test or limited-overs cricket. But what that plan is only Dhoni would know.

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Aaj Kal