Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s career has been a study in contrasts—the understated professional and captain versus the flamboyant and unique cricketer. His decision to step down from the captaincy of India’s limited overs teams is surprising (because no one saw it coming), but in keeping with the way the man thinks and acts.
Two years ago, Dhoni made the right call in retiring from Test cricket; he has again chosen a good time to step down. Virat Kohli has made the Test team his own. In light of his ascendance—particularly in 2016—and Dhoni’s own fading skills, it’s the right moment to pass the baton.
He leaves behind as rich a captain’s legacy as anyone who has led a team in limited overs cricket. His cricketing skills are rare but replicable. The mental fortitude that backed them up is unique.
That said, his involvement with the Chennai Super Kings, a team whose manager was involved in the spot-fixing scandal, showed the tricky territory players must navigate in the age of franchise cricket.