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Exclusive! MS Dhoni will remain India's finest captain even after a hundred years, says Jharkhand cricketer Virat Singh

New Delhi, August 16: Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Suresh Raina - the two stalwarts of Indian Cricket in the middle order stunned the fans when they announced their retirement from international cricket on Saturday (August 15). Their decision to call it quits stunned the cricketing fraternity as well as the fans alike.

However, for several cricketers who have been in touch with MS Dhoni - one of the most successful captains in the history of the game, especially in the white-ball format - were of the opinion that the Ranchi cricketer might have already played his last game in India colours.

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Dhoni's last international assignment was against New Zealand in the semi-final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 which Team India lost and made the exit from the quadrennial event. Dhoni took a sabbatical from the team after the showpiece event never to don the India jersey again.

While talking to MyKhel, young Jharkhand batsman Virat Singh - who has learnt a few tricks of the trade from the great man himself in the state team's dressing room - revealed he along with his fellow Ranji team players had an inkling that the 39-year-old is not going to make a comeback in the national side.

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"To be honest we always knew that the semi-final match against New Zealand in the ICC World Cup 2019 might have been his last in India colours. We had got the indications from him while practising in the nets in Ranchi that he has made up his mind to retire and it was just a formality that he's done yesterday. So we Jharkhand players knew that he has already played his last game. But having said that, it's an emotional moment for us all.

'Best captain even after a hundred years'

Virat - who is now a key member of the Jharkhand state team's middle-order - hailed Dhoni for his contribution towards Indian Cricket and claimed he'll always be remembered as Team India's greatest captains of all time.

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"He's served the nation for about 15 years and his contribution to Indian cricket has been immense. He's won so many games for India and there's only one thing about him that I can say and that's even after a hundred years if the best Indian cricket team would be picked, MS Dhoni would still be chosen as the captain of that side. I wish Mahi bhai all the best for his future endeavours," he added further.

Always looked up to Suresh Raina

Virat also congratulated Raina on his retirement but also claimed that the Uttar Pradesh cricketer could still have played a couple of years for Team India if he had done well in the IPL.

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"I have always looked up to him not just as a talented left-handed batsman but also as a fine fielder. I haven't met him but what I've heard from him from fellow cricketers is that he's a nice human being as well. He's been a complete package (in cricket) overall. He's only 33, I think he still had a chance to make a come back in the national side after doing well in two IPLs which will happen in a span of six months.

Suresh Raina retires: Fans left shocked as Raina joins Dhoni

"I think he should have given it a shot for another couple of years before retiring but it's his decision and I respect that he must have thought about it and discussed it with MS Dhoni obviously. His contribution to Indian cricket has been great. He along with MS Dhoni in the middle-order has won a lot of games for India from a bad position," he signed off.

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Story first published: Sunday, August 16, 2020, 11:22 [IST]
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