MS Dhoni plays a shot during a 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match. File / AFP
India's Mahendra Singh Dhoni fuelled retirement speculation on Tuesday after sharing his dream of becoming a painter, although his ambitions for a career change seemed far from serious.
The 37-year-old Dhoni, who is England-bound for the World Cup starting next week, displayed a few of what he said were his paintings in a video posted online on Monday.
"I wanted to share a secret with all of you. Right from when I was a kid I always wanted to become an artist," Dhoni said in the video.
"So decided I have played a lot of cricket and it's time for me to take up what I really wanted to become. And I started getting into painting."
The wicketkeeper-batsman said that he would soon hold an art exhibition as he wants to pursue his painting career "very seriously."
But the paintings that he showed off looked suspiciously childlike, prompting suggestions from some that the father of a four-year-old daughter may be pulling some legs.
"Chill out folks. @msdhoni's video is nothing short of a comedy sketch and is meant to be taken that way," wrote one Twitter user.
Dhoni, who led India to the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup title in 2007 and then the 50-over crown in 2011, is widely expected to call it quits after this edition of cricket's marquee event.
Dhoni, who retired from Tests in 2014, has amassed 10,500 one-day runs from 341 matches including 10 centuries and 71 fifties.
The Virat Kohli-led India begin their World Cup campaign against South Africa on June 5 in Southampton.
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Social media was flooded with birthday wishes from fans, cricketers and other sports personalities to wish Dhoni on his birthday.
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Sources at the hospital said she was brought at around 1.30 am on Monday, adding that she had developed pneumonia and left ventricular failure.