MS Dhoni's first Test as captain was a home match against South Africa in 2008. His last was against Australia in an away series in 2014. In between there was a lot of drama with a lot of highs and a lot of lows.
A look at Dhoni's Test captaincy in numbers… (Note: Only Test matches are mentioned below.)
1—The only captain to take India to the ICC No. 1 ranking. The best Sourav Ganguly could muster was No. 3 which wasn't bettered by either Rahul Dravid or Anil Kumble. As a part-time captain, Dhoni managed to tie the series with South Africa 1-1 and win with Australia 2-0. Both were home series played in 2008.
After becoming full-time captain, Dhoni won 1-0 with England, 1-0 with New Zealand (away) and then beat Sri Lanka 2-0 at home in 2008-09 to take India to the very top.
1—The only captain not to lose a series on South African soil in 2010 (it was tied at 1-1). From 1992-2006, India played four series on South African soil. We lost all four of them.
2—India won in New Zealand in 1968 when the 3-1 victory was the first ever on foreign soil. Dhoni captained India to the second series win there in 2009.
3—England and West Indies both are India's happiest hunting grounds where it has won three series each. While Dhoni drew a blank in England, he became the third captain to win a series in West Indies in 2011.
3—Number of matches lost at home in 6 years. No matter what happens on foreign pitches, Dhoni remains India's greatest home Test captain.
4—Dhoni is the only captain to inflict a 4-0 whitewash. The team at the receiving end was Australia! Dhoni and Michael Clarke almost had the unique distinction of whitewashing each other 0-4. However Dhoni didn't play the final Test in India's whitewash in 2011 and Clarke didn't play the final Test in Australia's whitewash in 2013.
5—Joint holder with Sourav Ganguly in winning five foreign Tests against the Top 8 nations. They are: Hamilton 2009, Colombo 2010, Durban 2010, Kingston 2011 and Lord's 2014.
5—Number of centuries hit in India as captain.
12— Before the 0-8 where we were whitewashed twice in England and Australia in 2011, Dhoni was undefeated in 12 straight series including the foreign series of New Zealand in 2009, Sri Lanka in 2010, South Africa in 2010 and West Indies in 2011. (That also includes two series captained jointly with Kumble with South Africa and Australia in 2008.)
18—The number of months India was No. 1 in the ICC rankings under Dhoni.
21—Dhoni won a record 21 matches on home soil.
22—That's the percentage of all Tests that Dhoni won out of India's total victories in its entire history. (27/122)
27—Total number of matches won as captain, a record that will take some time to be overhauled.
40—Dhoni's average as captain, which is quite good for a No. 7 Test batsman.
51—His average as captain on Indian soil.
60—Tests as captain for Dhoni out of a total of 90; That means Dhoni was captain for two-thirds of his Test career.
211—His dismissals as wicket-keeper captain.
224—His highest score as captain. He achieved this feat in the first Test against Australia in Chennai in 2013.
3454—Runs made as captain, the highest by any Indian Test captain.
0—Number of matches Dhoni captained in Pakistan and Zimbabwe.
0—Number of centuries hit as captain outside of India.
But finally the two numbers that defined him and that forced him to quit…
6—Number of consecutive overseas series losses under Dhoni. 2011: England and Australia. 2013: South Africa and New Zealand. 2014: England and Australia.
15—Number of matches lost on foreign soil.
India totally collapsed in foreign Tests in 2011. However since then the new team under Dhoni has shown a lot of fight even though the results suggest otherwise.
So will 2015 see a brand new India which can finally rid its shackles on foreign soil or will we collapse further?
Over to Virat Kohli then!
The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.
He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/