Axar Patel has recalled the heartbreaking moment when Suresh Raina started crying as MS Dhoni retired from Test cricket and then director of cricket Ravi Shastri called for a meeting for the same in midst of the 2014-15 Border-Gavaskar Series tour down under.
Many recall that MS Dhoni abruptly announced his decision to retire from the longest format of the game after playing 90 Tests, the last of which came against Australia in Melbourne in 2014. This was the second Test of the four-match series between Australia and India and then vice-captain Virat Kohli took over as captain from the next two Tests onwards.
Dhoni continued to captain the Indian team in white-ball cricket including the 2015 World Cup and 2016 T20 World Cup, after which he decided to step down from India’s captaincy altogether, handing over the reins to Virat Kohli completely. He remains the only captain to win the ODI World Cup, the T20 World Cup, the Champions Trophy, and the Asia Cup titles.
We Have To Make An Announcement. Mahi (MS Dhoni) Is Retiring’. (Suresh) Raina Started Crying: Axar Patel Recalls
Axar Patel on the talk show ‘Breakfast of Champions’ reveals that it was on the evening of Day 2 that Ravi Shastri (team director/coach) informed everyone in the team of MS Dhoni’s decision to retire from Test cricket.
Axar, who was part of the India Test squad, said that everyone in the squad had become emotional, and it took him time to wrap his head around what had just transpired.
“He announced it the next day itself, on the evening of the second day of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. The atmosphere had changed. Everyone was quiet and Ravi (Shastri) bhai called for a meeting. ‘Everybody… we have to make an announcement. Mahi is retiring’. (Suresh) Raina started crying. I was like ‘What just happened? Everyone around me was tearing up. I was in another world, ‘What just happened? What is going on?’,” Axar said on famous YouTube Show ‘Breakfast with Champions’.
It took Axar some time to soak in everything and come to terms with the feeling that he would never get to play under Dhoni, at least in Test matches. The left-arm spinner then recalled how Dhoni would pull his leg before finally giving Axar a hug.
“I didn’t even know what to say. It was the first time I was meeting Mahi bhai. But before I said anything, he only said: ‘Bapu (Axar’s nickname… you arrived and made me leave? I was like ‘what did I do?’. Then I teared up… I just arrived and he is leaving. He said that he’s just joking and then hugged me,” Axar added.
MS Dhoni also called time on his India international career on August 15, 2020, and is currently playing for the CSK in IPL 2022, stepping down as captain of the franchise as well.