He is India’s most successful Test match captain but Mahendra Singh Dhoni has decided enough is enough.
The 33-year-old has retired from Test match cricket, bringing down the curtain on an illustrious career in which he thrilled crowds across the world.
Dhoni, who made his debut in 2005, captained India in 60 of his 90 Test matches but decided to quit on Tuesday following the draw with Australia in Melbourne which meant his side conceded the series.
In a statement, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), said that Dhoni made the decision to retire from Tests “in order to concentrate” on one-day and Twenty20 cricket.
“One of India’s greatest Test Captains under whose leadership India became the No. 1 team in the Test Rankings MS Dhoni, has decided to retire from Test Cricket citing the strain of playing all formats of Cricket,” said the statement.
“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 decision comes following a difficult year for Dhoni, who has been hampered by a succession of injuries.
The wicket-keeper batsman missed five one-day games against Sri Lanka in November after suffering a hand injury, the same problem which forced him out of the opening Test against Australia earlier this month.
That should not detract from a stellar career in which Dhoni has become India’s highest earning sports star.
According to Forbes, he is the fourth highest earning sportsman in the world, raking in $20 million in 2014, placing him ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, Usain Bolt, Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi.
His decision comes just weeks ahead of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand where India will defend its one-day crown.
Dhoni will now start preparing for the tournament while Virat Kohli, one of the team’s star batsmen, takes charge of the final Test match against Australia in Sydney which starts on January 6.
Trailing 2-0 in the four match series, India required victory in Melbourne to keep the series alive.
The draw meant that it was unable to overturn the deficit and slumped to yet another overseas defeat — a recurring theme during Dhoni’s reign.
Since 2011, India has managed to win just two out of 22 away Tests and lost 13.
During his 90-match Test career, Dhoni scored 4,876 runs at an average of 38.09, while his highest score of 224 came against Australia in February 2013.
The wicket-keeper batsman also claimed 256 catches and made 38 stumpings.
Dhoni replaced Anil Kumble as captain in 2008 after guiding India to victory in the very first World Twenty20 title the previous year.
He enjoyed a hugely successful start to his reign, losing just one of 13 Test series and winning eight.
That run allowed India to top the world rankings towards the end of 2009, a position in which it remained until 2011.
But India has struggled for success outside of its own country in the Test match arena in recent times.
This latest defeat by Australia comes on the back of similar results in England, New Zealand and South Africa.
Last August, Dhoni hinted he may leave his role as captain after his side’s 3-1 Test series defeat by England.
When asked if he had taken his team as far as possible, he said: “Maybe, yes.
“You’ll have to wait and watch. If I’m strong enough or not strong enough, you’ll have to wait and get the news.”
India begins its defense of the World Cup title on February 15 against Pakistan in Adelaide.
It will also face South Africa, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland and United Arab Emirates in the group stages.
Dhoni has excelled in the one-day game having made 250 appearances for India.
He has scored 8,192 runs at an average of 52.85.