Saina Nehwal, Sania Mirza among Indian Olympians to salute ‘forever’ MS Dhoni

MS Dhoni retired from international cricket on August 15, India’s Independence Day. He will continue to play for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL.

By Utathya Nag

Indian cricket icon MS Dhoni’s decision to retire on India’s 74th Independence Day marked a poetic end to an era, much in line with the song he chose as the backdrop to his announcement.

As the lyrics of the Mukesh song from 1976 Bollywood movie ‘Kabhie Kabhie’ starring Amitabh Bachchan goes, ‘Main pal do pal ka shayar hoon. Pal do pal meri kahani hai (I'm a poet only for a moment or two. My story is just for a fleeting moment)’.

Indian cricket team star MS Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket.

Fleeting it may have been as per MS Dhoni’s assertion, but the impact the former World Cup-winning Indian cricket team captain had on the sporting culture of India has been eternal.

Dhoni’s retirement drew a slew of tributes from eminent Indian sports stars, including multiple Olympic champions, after the 39-year-old made the announcement through Instagram.

London Olympics 2012 bronze medallist and Indian badminton star Saina Nehwal noted, “You have done a super job as a sportsman. Thanks for all your lovely performances. Hope you'll enjoy every minute of your retirement. You will be missed, but never forgotten. #Dhoniforever.”

Indian wrestler Sushil Kumar, India’s only two-time individual Olympic medallist, meanwhile, shared a picture of himself with MS Dhoni accompanied by a special message – champion to champion.

Three-time Olympian and six-time Grand Slam winner Sania Mirza also took her turn to pen a special ‘thank you’ note for ‘Mahi’, Dhoni’s pet name.

“DHONI what a legend you are. One of my all time favourite athletes and personalities on and off the field,” Sania said.

“Thank you for everything you have done and good luck with the future. It’s been an honour to be an athlete in the same era as you from the same country,” the Indian tennis queen wrote in her message.

Indian hockey celebrates the legend

Indian hockey team captain Manpreet Singh, like Dhoni, knows a thing or two about representing the blue Indian jersey on the global stage. The hockey player bid an emotional farewell.

Manpreet’s India teammates Rupinder Pal Singh and PR Sreejesh, too, wished the Ranchi maestro a happy retirement.

Former world No. 1 men’s badminton player Kidambi Srikanth followed suit and wrote, “2020 continues! Watching MS Dhoni was one of my reasons to watch cricket. You shall always be our Captain Cool! Wish you a very happy 2nd innings of life!”

Several other athletes like India’s rising wrestling star Bajrang Punia, the prodigious sprinter Hima Das, two-time Asian Games silver medallist Dutee Chand and several others athletes also shared their wishes for the Indian icon.