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Video games, banter before MS Dhoni dropped captaincy retirement bombshell

Fans, cricketers and pundits alike suffered a jolt as MS Dhoni stepped down as India cricket team skipper. But Captain Cool was as relaxed as ever. The day the announcement of his retirement as captain came, even his Jharkhand Ranji Trophy teammates, who shared the dressing room with him on January 4, did not get any clue about Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s big decision.

cricket Updated: Jan 08, 2017 12:58 IST
MS Dhoni,Mahendra Singh Dhoni,Captain Cool
The day the announcement came of MS Dhoni’s retirement as India cricket team captain, Captain Cool so relaxed that even his Jharkhand Ranji Trophy teammates, who were with him on January 4, did not get any clue about the big decision.(HT Photo)

Forget the layman, even those who shared the dressing room with MS Dhoni on January 4, didn’t have the slightest of inclination about the big decision Captain Cool had in his mind.

While the cricketing world suffered a jolt as MS Dhoni stepped down as India cricket team captain from the limited-overs format, the country’s most successful captain was a relaxed man as he spoke to his Jharkhand teammates on the penultimate day of their Ranji clash against Gujarat. Dhoni even joined the junior teammates for a round of video game.

“None of us had the slightest idea that he would step down as the captain of the Indian team later in the day. We were having our team meeting when the notifications started popping up on our cellphones,” said Ishan Kishan, who has been selected as part of the squad for the second warm-up game against England.

Read more | BCCI’s video tribute to Mahendra Singh Dhoni: Watch the 2011 cricket World Cup winning 6!

“We first had a team meeting where we had a discussion regarding our game and how can we improve it further. He (MS Dhoni) was also here and he enquired about the kind of facilities we’re being provided and if they need to be upgraded etc...,” Ishan said. “Later, I had a word with him since I’m a wicket-keeper and he gave me tips. We spoke on my skills behind the wicket, how I can improve them further and he showed me a few drills for low catching, and footwork etc…”

Jharkhand, who made 408 to take a first-innings lead in the semifinal, capitulated on the final day as they were bundled for just 111. Jasprit Bumrah was the star of the show, picking six wickets for 29 runs as Gujarat reached the final of the Ranji Trophy after 66 years.

Read more | Mahendra Singh Dhoni: Controversial ex-Team India captain, the untold story

“We had a great season but we weren’t depressed at the end of the day. After all, you can’t help it if the entire batting team fails to perform on a given day,” Ishan added. “Dhoni appreciated the effort we had put up through the season. It was a very positive environment with him around as he kept inspiring us and told us that we should go a step further the next season and aim for the final.”

Ishan had a fantastic run in the Ranji Trophy this season, scoring 799 runs in 10 matches at an average of 57.07.

In terms of players who have played a minimum of 10 matches this season, his strike rate is a staggering 83.92, and he is only behind his Under-19 teammate, Rishabh Pant. “

Good luck to him, I really wish he do well,” Ishan said of Rishabh, who a national call-up to the India side following his breakthrough season in the Ranji Trophy.

First Published: Jan 07, 2017 14:07 IST