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MS Dhoni set to retire from ODIs after India vs England series?

MS Dhoni raised retirement questions after an otherwise innocuous act following the defeat to England in third ODI at Leeds.

India’s ODI series against England ended with an eight wicket defeat at Headingley in Leeds. Even as the focus was on England winning the ODI series, an otherwise innocuous act of taking the ball from the umpire created speculation that MS Dhoni was contemplating retirement. The rather unusual act by the wicketkeeper batsman and former India captain let many to believe that the veteran was hanging up his gloves.

The comfortable win for England, helped by Eoin Morgan and Joe Root, ended India’s winning run in bilateral ODI series going back to 2016. With that, it snapped India’s unbeaten streak of nine ODI series and resulted in Kohli losing his first 50-over series as captain. But, beyond the current skipper, MS Dhoni’s act raised eyebrows following the third ODI.

As the teams walked back to the dressing room, Dhoni was spotted taking the match ball from the umpires which is likely to have created retirement doubts in the minds of the fans. It is worth reminding that when MS Dhoni played his last Test match, against Australia in 2014, he had taken the stumps with him despite the match ending in a draw. Usually, players take the stump with them on a memorable occasion or a win.

The video of the incident has gone viral on social media and created quite a buzz. He has come under criticism repeatedly off late for his slow innings and his match-winning exploits of the past not as frequent anymore. During his laboured knock of 37 runs in the second ODI against England at Lord’s he was booed by the fans but Virat Kohli and assistant coach Sanjay Bangar had come to his defence. Even in the series decider, Dhoni scored 42 runs but played too many dot balls against the spinners with the surface assisting the spin.

Dhoni’s knock of 42 from 66 balls with four fours came at a strike rate of 63.64 which annoyed many India fans as India finished at 256/8 – a total Kohli acknowledged was “25-30 runs short”. The veteran was eventually dismissed caught behind to Jos Buttler off the bowling of David Willey.

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