Dhoni, the former skipper of the Indian cricket team and a four-time champion of the IPL, walked into the Eden Gardens possibly for the last time as an active player. As he walked out onto the pitch, a wave of emotion swept through the stands, and the entire stadium erupted in a rapturous ovation- a fitting tribute to a true icon of the game. Speaking at the post-match presentation, Dhoni said, "I will just say thanks for the support, they came in big numbers. Most of these guys will come in a KKR jersey next time. They are trying to give me a farewell, so thanks a lot to the crowd."
The entire country has been showering Dhoni with love and adoration this year, and venues across the country have been painted yellow and echoed chants of Dhoni! Dhoni! every time the Chennai Super Kings have taken the field. On Sunday, we witnessed something similar at the Eden Gardens when both sets of fans cheered the dismissal of Ravindra Jadeja, giving Dhoni an incredible welcome to the crease.
Dhoni's innings lasted just three balls as the Super Kings finished their quota of overs, but each ball he faced was cheered with increased enthusiasm and spirit. The 60,000 odd had gotten their money's worth in five minutes, having shared a moment in time with a man who could have possibly played his last match at the Eden Gardens.
MS Dhoni's name will forever be etched in golden letters in the history books, and he was given a moment to cherish by the fans at Eden Gardens. We cannot help but feel immense gratitude for the countless memories and moments of happiness he has given to every cricket fan across the nation. His remarkable feats as the captain of the Indian cricket team have not only brought us numerous laurels but have also united a billion people in our diverse and beautiful country. If this was indeed the last time we witness him play a competitive tournament at the Eden Gardens, we want to express our heartfelt thanks for the way he has inspired us and brought the nation together. MS Dhoni's legacy will live on forever, and we are privileged to have witnessed his greatness.
A Son of Eastern India, MS Dhoni the has given fans at Eden Gardens plenty to cheer about in the past. Here are few of the instances:
Dhoni’s attacking century leaves Proteas reeling - In the 2009-10 series vs South Africa, Dhoni playing in only his 2nd test at the Eden Gardens scored 132 of 187 runs to help India pile a mammoth 643 of 6. Coming into the bat with the score reading 384-6, MS Dhoni and VVS Laxman (143*) featured in an unbeaten 259 run stand for the 7th wicket. India won the test by an innings and 57 runs.
Dhoni’s late flourish helps India go 4-0 up - In the 4th ODI of the bilateral series vs England in 2011, MS Dhoni top scored with 75* (69) to power India to 271. Coming into bat with the side struggling at 123/4, Skipper Dhoni built partnerships with the likes of Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja to take India to a competitive total. England lost the match by 95 runs as the Indian spinners ran through the English batting unit in the 2nd half of the match.
Dhoni felicitated as outgoing skipper - In 2017, after relinquishing his captaincy, the CAB gave MS Dhoni a special felicitation at the Eden Gardens during the innings break at the 3rd ODI against England. Former Knights and Team India Skipper Sourav Ganguly and 1983 world cup winning captain did the honours as the stands reverberated with loud “Dhoni, Dhoni” chants.