Cricketer MS Dhoni has announced that he will not retire after winning a record fifth Indian Premier League (IPL) title.
The former India captain, 41, was expected to retire from all forms of cricket but said that love from his fans has made him give it another try.
Led by Dhoni, the Chennai Super Kings beat the Gujarat Titans on Monday night to win the trophy.
The “double good news” sparked massive celebration by fans on social media.
One Chennai Super Kings supporter called Dhoni’s decision not to retire “a great gift” for fans of the team.
“Allowing CSK and the fans to savour the moment by not announcing his retirement is classic Dhoni!” another fan said.
Dhoni’s CSK won the match by five wickets after Ravindra Jadeja hit a last-ball four to successfully chase down the revised target of 171 in a rain affected match.
The team’s win was celebrated not just by its supporters but also by members of the opposing team.
Gujarat Titans captain Hardik Pandya called Dhoni a “mentor” and said, “If I had to lose, I don’t mind losing to him.”
In Kolkata, as CSK played against the home team, many stands looked yellow – the Chennai team’s colour – as fans wore Dhoni’s shirt and not the purple kit of the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Fans had expected Dhoni to retire, especially if CSK took home the trophy this year.
There is very little left for the cricketer to achieve in the sport – Dhoni won the T20 World Cup in 2007 and led the India team to one-day world glory in 2011.
He has mentored dozens of talents, many of whom are the mainstay of the current Indian team.
He is also known as one of the best cricket captains and a brilliant strategist and reader of the game.
But Dhoni is not known to follow conventions. His career had been built on unusual choices and surprises.
In the IPL, he’s been “developing the young, and reinventing the old” to make CSK serial champions, commentator and former Australian cricketer Tom Moody said.
On Monday, Dhoni seemed to believe he had one more season of triumph left for his fans.
“This is the best time to announce my retirement,” he said. He, however, said he’d give it a few more months because of “the amount of love and affection I have been shown wherever I have been this year.”
Dhoni said he’d likely come back and play at least one more season of the IPL as “a gift” from his side to the fans.
“The way they’ve shown their love and affection, I think that’s something I need to do for them,” he said.
Source : BBC