Axar Patel, an Indian all-rounder, made his Test debut against England in February 2021, taking a total of seven wickets in the process. However, he was a member of India’s Test squad during the 2014 tour to Australia, which marked the former skipper MS Dhoni’s last outing in the red-ball format. Axar had been called up to the team to replace the injured Ravindra Jadeja.
On the Breakfast with Champions programme presented by Gaurav Kapur on YouTube, he discussed the mood in the dressing room when MS Dhoni announced his retirement on the second day of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. He added that it was Ravi Shastri who told the players of Dhoni’s decision and convened the meeting, and he revealed that Suresh Raina broke down in tears as soon as he learned of Dhoni’s retirement.
“Everyone was silent, and Ravi (Shastri) Bhai called for a meeting to discuss the situation. Everyone, please pay attention… we have an announcement to make. ‘Mahi is announcing his retirement.’ (Suresh) Raina Bhai broke down and sobbed. ‘What the hell just happened?’ I thought. Everyone in my immediate vicinity was sobbing. I was on another planet, thinking to myself, ‘What just happened? “What exactly is going on?” Axar wondered.
MS Dhoni was ready with a little quip at Axar Patel’s expense to lighten the mood
Axar Patel went on to describe his conversation with Dhoni after the retirement news. After joking that he was quitting the Indian squad because of his arrival, the 28-year-old said that Dhoni pulled his leg and embraced him. “I didn’t know what to say at the time. It was my first encounter with Mahi Bhai, and I was quite impressed. But before I could say anything, he just stated: ‘Bapu, you came and forced me to leave? I was thinking to myself, “What did I do?’ Then I started crying because I realised I had only just arrived and he was already on his way out. After that, he stated he was only kidding and embraced me,” Axar said further.
Following the discussion over MS Dhoni’s retirement, Axar identified the fundamental characteristic that has distinguished him as a successful cricketer throughout the years. He said that Dhoni understands how to employ each player in any circumstance and can predict the player’s potential ahead of time, among other things. “It was really him who understood how to use a player and get the most out of him. He was more familiar with the player than the player was with himself. He was well-versed in the art of extracting lemon juice,” Axar said.