New Delhi, Jan 6: As Mahendra Singh Dhoni stepped down as the captain of limited overs format, star cricketers of Indian cricket team paid rich tributes to the charismatic India skipper.
The 35-year-old wicketkeeper batsman from Ranchi not only emerged as the best finisher in the history of Indian cricket but also became the one of the greatest captains in the history of game.
He is the only captain in history to have won all three International Cricket Council's (ICC) global trophies - World Twenty20 (2007), World Cup (2011) and Champions Trophy (2013).
Dhoni is India's most successful captain in all 3 formats - Tests, ODIs and T20Is. He led India in 60 Tests with 27 wins. In ODIs, he was at the helm for 199 matches, winning 110 and losing 74 (4 tied and 11 no results). In 72 T20Is as captain, he won 42 and lost 28 (2 no results).
Overall, Dhoni led India in 331 matches across all 3 formats. This is a world record. The next best is Ricky Ponting of Australia with 324 games.
In his illustrious career as Captain Cool, Dhoni saw giants of Indian cricket exit the game. Cricketing legends such as Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble and Virender Sehwag retired under Dhoni's captaincy.
Captain Cool was, thus, faced with a challenge to develop a young side that could regain the lost glory of Indian cricket. Slowly and gradually Dhoni helped these talented youngsters, gave them ample opportunities and created a conducive atmosphere for them to expand their wings.
Dhoni shielded his players from criticism and encouraged them to play their natural games.
Dhoni's patience and confidence in the bench strength have finally started bearing fruits. India comfortably sit at the top of ICC Test rankings and are a force to reckon with in other formats too.
Several present cricketers in the Indian team understand the importance of MS Dhoni in their career and owe their success to Dhoni.
Here's how current Indian cricketers thanked MS Dhoni for shaping up their careers:
MS Dhoni will always be my captain, said Virat Kohli.
Opener Rohit Sharma thanked MS Dhoni for giving him time to prove himself. Rohit said he'll miss Dhoni's leadership.
"A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It's about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it," said Rahane on Dhoni.
"What an unbelievable ride it's been #msdhoni, u managed to pull through some stellar records as a leader. Wield the willow wild now," said Ashwin.
Dhawan hails Dhoni as the best captain in the world.