Axar Patel was a part of the Indian Test team that toured Australia in 2014. The spinner, who is playing for the Delhi Capitals in IPL 2022, recalled the way the dressing room reacted to MS Dhoni’s retirement annnouncement. 

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Dhoni retired from Test cricket on December 30, 2014 post India’s draw in the Boxing Day Test against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. BCCI sent a mail to reporters and journalists just when they were wrapping up their post-match routine. 

“MS Dhoni has chosen to retire from Test cricket with immediate effect in order to concentrate on ODI and T20 formats. BCCI, while respecting the decision of MS Dhoni to retire from Test cricket, wishes to thank him for his enormous contribution to Test cricket and the laurels that he has brought to India,” the BCCI had said at the time. 

MSD played 90 Test matches for India, scoring 4,876 runs at an average of little over 38. He was replaced by Virat Kohli, who recently stepped down. The Indian Test team is now led by Rohit Sharma. 

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Axar Patel revealed that Dhoni’s decision was announced by then team director/ coach Ravi Shastri on the evening of Day 2. The off-spinner said the players were emotional and Suresh Raina even cried. 

“He announced it the next day itself, on the evening of the second day of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. The atmosphere had changed. Everyone was quiet and Ravi (Shastri) bhai called for a meeting. ‘Everybody… we have to make an announcement. Mahi is retiring’. (Suresh) Raina started crying. I was like ‘What just happened? Everyone around me was tearing up. I was in another world, ‘What just happened? What is going on?’,” Patel said on cricket presenter Gaurav Kapur’s ‘Breakfast with Champions’.

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The 28-year-old then said that it took time for all to soak in the feeling. He then recalled how Dhoni would pull his leg before finally giving him a hug.

“I didn’t even know what to say. It was the first time I was meeting Mahi bhai. But before I said anything, he only said: ‘Bapu (Axar’s nickname… you arrived and made me leave? I was like ‘what did I do?’. Then I teared up… I just arrived and he is leaving. He said that he’s just joking and then hugged me,” Axar added.

Dhoni and Raina retired from international cricket on August 15, 2020.