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An inspiration and institution in himself: Mithali, Mandhana praise Dhoni

India ODI women’s team skipper Mithali Raj and star batter Smriti Mandhana on Monday praised the just-retired Mahendra Singh Dhoni, calling the two-time World Cup winning captain “an inspiration and institution in himself”.

Dhoni, the only captain to have won all the ICC trophies, retired from international cricket on Saturday, more than a year after he last played for India—the lost World Cup semifinal against New Zealand.

“Dhoni is an inspiration and institution in himself. He literally walks the talk, he is the dream of every small-town boy who aspires to play for the country and achieve it all,” Mithali said in a video posted by the BCCI on its official Twitter handle.

“Respect, fame and the love of people, I particularly admired him for his nerves of steel, innate calm and cool visage even under difficult situations. “And of course his inimitable style, whether it is batting or wicket-keeping.”

Dhoni, who made his ODI debut in 2004, played 350 ODIs, 90 Tests and 98 T20I matches for India. The Indian women’s team veteran added, “That helicopter shot, outside of any cricketing textbook, is a testament of his originality, talent and self belief. There will never be another like him. MS Dhoni is a legend etched in time forever.”

Under Dhoni’s leadership, India also attained the world number one ranking in Test cricket for their first time. Mandhana also heaped praise on Dhoni.

“I still remember the way Dhoni sir walked out to bat in the 2011 World Cup final. The confidence on his face was something which I got inspired,” Mandhana said in another video uploaded by the cricket board.

“I am sure he has inspired everyone around him to be a better cricketer, a leader and most importantly a better human being. Thank you for your contribution Dhoni sir,” she added.