It is a measure of the lofty heights he personally attained, and the successes to which he led the national team, that Mahendra Singh Dhoni is being facilitated to choreograph the scenario in which he will complete his phased departure from the heady world of Indian cricket. A less-accomplished person might not have commanded a place in the team recently selected for the ODI and T20 matches against England that commence a week ahead. The selectors might have been inclined to look ahead, and blood new talent for the Champions Trophy later in the year, and then two versions of the World Cup a little further down the road. That they are not very sure about Dhoni’s longevity is apparent in their decision that Rishabh Pant will do the keeping in the T20 matches that follow the ODIs. Of course winning a series is as important as preparing for a multilateral contest, and Dhoni remains the most competent wicket-keeper batsman around. Similar thinking is suggested in the recall of Yuvraj Singh and Ashish Nehra, experience cannot be discounted.

Without even dreaming of taking anything away from the most successful skipper ever, it must be said that Dhoni would have done the game great service if he had indicated how long he thought he would be in requisite form when he relinquished the captaincy in the shorter formats. That would have enabled better preparation for the future. Sadly, Dhoni’s decision was as much a shocker as when he stepped aside from Test cricket even before the series in Australia had run its course. That Virat Kohli was well-positioned to take over, on both occasions, does not justify MSD’s sudden decisions ~ without a detailed explanation for his doing so. Surely the cricket-crazy fans who elevated the man from Ranchi to demi-God status merited some insight into his thinking? It might be sacrilege to say so, but now both Dhoni’'s batting and glove-work will be under intense scrutiny, particularly since he has lost some of his edge in recent times. In his prime Mahi was a great finisher, his host of admirers will wish he takes his bow with a bang ~ and does not pose an embarrassing situation for the selectors.