Yuzvendra Chahal was left by MS Dhoni’s decision to retire from international cricket and the India leg-spinner believes the former captain could have gone on playing a little longer had it not been for the Covid-19 pandemic.
More than a year after he last played a competitive match – the semifinal of last year’s World Cup between India and New Zealand, Dhoni announced his retirement on Saturday. Chahal admitted that without Dhoni, wrist spinners such as him and Kuldeep Yadav couldn’t have flourished.
Also Read | How Sachin Tendulkar convinced BCCI to pick Dhoni as India captain
“Dhoni’s retirement was very shocking news. I think Corona also played a role in this decision, otherwise Dhoni would have played T20 World Cup,” Chahal said in News18 India’s special program Chaupal. I still want him to play. Because of him, Kuldeep Yadav and I succeeded. We used to get a lot of help from him from behind the wicket. If Dhoni was there, 50 percent of my work was already done.”
Also Read | MS Dhoni’s approach to cricket is spiritual, writes Sanjay Manjrekar
Chahal made his India debut under Dhoni in June of 2016 even though he played most of his cricket for India under the captaincy of Virat Kohli. Kuldeep on the other hand has played all his cricket under Kohli, but both have in the past admitted to have benefitted truckloads from Dhoni. Chahal said Dhoni’s presence made it easier for them to decipher the pitch.
“Dhoni knew how the pitch was behaving. Before the first ball, we knew what the pitch was like because of him. Otherwise, when Dhoni was not there, we would take two overs to understand the pitch,” he said. “In the match, since Virat (Kohli) and Rohit (Sharma) were on the boundary, then Dhoni was the nearest senior, he would help us always. Dhoni also helped Kuldeep and I a lot during the tour of South Africa.”
Ever since the news of his retirement broke, people have been clamouring for a farewell match for India’s most successful limited-overs captain, on which Chahal felt the decision is best rested with the BCCI. “This decision will be taken by the BCCI. Also, what Dhoni wants needs to be considered,” he said.