Mahendra Singh Dhoni during a third one-day international cricket match against New Zealand in Mohali, India. File
Dhoni, 39, called time on his 16-year-old international career on Saturday with a cryptic message on his Instagram post that read "From 1929hrs consider me as retired."
Artist Sudarsan Pattnaik gives the final touches to his sand sculpture depicting M.S. Dhoni (L) and Suresh Rainawith, with a message at Puri beach. AFP
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed the news in a statement, saying: "The boy from Ranchi, who made his ODI debut in 2004, changed the face of Indian cricket with his calm demeanour, sharp understanding of the game and astute leadership qualities."
Dhoni's legions of fans including 7.8 million Twitter followers and former teammate Dinesh Karthik said they did not want to see 7 on the back of any other Indian cricketer's jersey.
"I hope the @bcci retire the #7 jersey in white ball cricket Good luck with your second innings in life, I'm sure you'll have a lot of surprises for us there too," Karthik, a wicketkeeper-batsman, tweeted.
Former batsman Mohammad Kaif agreed, writing on Twitter: "Can't imagine any one else wearing a Number 7 India jersey again."
There is no provision to retire jerseys in cricket, unlike in football.
But the BCCI unofficially retired batting great Sachin Tendulkar's number 10 shirt a few years after his retirement.
Dhoni, a flamboyant wicketkeeper-batsman who led India to win the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in 2007 and lifted the 50-over showpiece event in 2011, was born on July 7.
He is a self-confessed fan of Portuguese football megastar Cristiano Ronaldo, who also wears a famous number seven jersey.
"@BCCI should retire "Jersey Number 7" as a Tribute to Legend MS Dhoni," a fan wrote on Twitter.
Another fan urged social media users to start trending "#RetireJersey7" as "Jersey number 7 was not just a number but an emotion the country is going to miss."
Dhoni, dubbed 'Captain Cool' because of his unflappable style, will continue to lead his team Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League starting in the United Arab Emirates next month.
Dhoni quit Tests in 2014 and has not played for the national side since India's World Cup semi-final loss against New Zealand in England last year — his 350th one-day international.
Cricketers from across the globe and Indian media paid tribute to the glittering career of Dhoni, who was fondly called 'Mahi' by his teammates.
"M.S. Dhoni is one of the all-time greats of the game," International Cricket Council's chief executive Manu Sawhney said in a statement.
"He has inspired a whole generation and will be sorely missed."
The Times of India newspaper splashed across its front page: "The end of an era: Dhoni calls it a day, Mahi way."
"Welcome to the retirement club, MSD! What a magical career!," former England batsman Kevin Pietersen tweeted.
Australian opener David Warner wrote: "Congrats @msDhoni on a fantastic career, he is one of the coolest guys I've played against on the park."
"One of the true legends of Indian cricket and one of the greatest captains, congratulations on a great career MS Dhoni! All the best for your future," former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi added on social media.
The IPL, the world's richest cricket tournament, was half finished when it was halted on May 4 after a number of players and team officials caught coronavirus despite being in bio-secure bubbles.
Pictures of Dhoni sucking his thumb and spitting blood emerged on the internet amidst all the criticism he faced from the fans.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had defended Dhoni after he sported a dagger logo on his green gloves in India's win over South Africa on Wednesday.
"We are feeling sad, and you can see me, I feel like crying," said office worker Neeraj Singh, sobbing, after New Zealand's dramatic 18-run win. "We love Team India, we love Kohli, we love Mahi (MS Dhoni) and forever we will love cricket. And like our boss Kohli has said, Dhoni will forever be our captain in our hearts," he said.
Kevin Parker, general secretary of the club’s official supporters’ group, suggested Guardiola was out of touch. “Mr Parker should review the comments,” Guardiola said.
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