Off The Field

He felt we need to start grooming Saha: Ishant on Dhoni’s ‘sudden’ Test retirement

Written by Abhishek Patil

Ishant Sharma, who is all set to become the only India pacer after Kapil Dev to play in 100 Tests, has said that former captain MS Dhoni might had decided to retire all of sudden because he wanted wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha to be groomed.

Ishant Sharma, while talking to off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on his YouTube channel, added that Dhoni was close to playing 100 Tests but personal milestones were secondary to him. Notably, MS Dhoni retired after playing 90 Tests. He announced his sudden retirement after the completion of the Boxing Day Test against Australia in 2014. Virat Kohli captained the Indian team in the final match.

“Although he was close to 100 Tests, he was always a team man. I remember he told me when we were in England that it is not important for him to play hundred Tests. Instead, he felt that we need to start grooming (Wriddhiman) Saha. That’s why he took the sudden decision to retire, I feel,” Ishant said.

Ishant Sharma also shared an anecdote from MS Dhoni’s last Test. The lanky speedster said that he was continuously taking injections in the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne because of some severe pain in his knee. Around the last session of the 4th day, Ishant communicated to Dhoni and told him that he could bowl no more. The reply from the legendary captain stunned the Delhi bowler.

“I felt very bad (on MS Dhoni’s retirement). I had taken many injections for that Melbourne Test match because I was experiencing severe pain in my knee. I did not know that Mahi bhai was going to retire. In fact, nobody knew that he was going to retire. So, I was taking an injection every session,” Ishant said.

“I was stunned. I told him if I knew I would definitely have continued to play. So that was a really touching story. I didn’t know till the last day that he was retiring.”

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Abhishek Patil