On August 15, 2020, Indian cricketer M.S. Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket. In a country where cricket is a religion in itself, and Dhoni is considered next only to God, the news left thousands of fans crushed. 

M.S. Dhoni
Source: Indian Express

Because, over a 15-years-long career, Dhoni proved that not only was he one of the finest cricketers the world had seen, but also, an exemplary captain who led India to victory 5 times. Here's a look at his splendid innings, in photos: 

1. Before his international career, Dhoni started his cricket career by playing for cricket clubs, then CCL, until ultimately becoming a part of the Bihar Ranji Team and the U-19 squad. 

Dhoni young
Source: Starsunfolded
young dhoni
Source: Stars unfolded

2. Dhoni's international career began with the ODI Bangladesh tour in 2004-05. 

Dhoni's ODI Debut
Source: News 18

3. M.S. Dhoni won the man of the series, after India's 3-0 triumph at the 2005 Sri Lanka bilateral ODI series. 

Source: cricbuzz

Jaipur stood witness to his stellar innings, as he scored an unbeaten 183 off 145 balls against Sri Lanka. It is the highest score by a keeper-batsman. 

Dhoni in 2005
Source: sportskeeda

4. In 2007, Rahul Dravid hands over the reign of captaincy to M.S. Dhoni, and under his captaincy, India wins the 2007 ICC World Twenty20 championship. 

Dravid and Dhoni
Source: NDTV
Dhoni wins T20
Source: The Statesman
Dhoni at 2007 t20
Source: ESPN
Dhoni at 2007 t20
Source: ESPN

5. India continues its winning streak under Dhoni and wins its first-ever bilateral ODI series victory in Sri Lanka in August 2008. 

Indian cricket team
Source: News18
Dhoni lifts trophy
Source: ESPN

6. After he took up the Test captaincy in 2008, India won the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2008, 2010, and 2013.

7. Dhoni also led India to its victory against New Zealand in the 2008-09 test series. India won the title on New Zealand soil after 41 years. 

8. Dhoni also led India to victory at the 2010 Asia Cup, defeating Sri Lanka by 81 runs, and ending a 15-years-long 'title drought'. He also led India to win the cup in 2016. 

2010 Asia Cup
Source: IMDb

9. Dhoni, considered to be one of India's finest wicket-keepers, received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 2007. 

Source: Indian Express

10. Dhoni, who invented the 'helicopter shot' is often regarded as Captain Cool, for his calm demeanour that led India to the number one position for the first time in the ICC Test rankings, in 2009. 

Dhoni helicopter shot
Source: Pinterest

11. In 2009 Dhoni also became the recipient of the Padma Shri, India's fourth-highest civilian honour. 

Dhoni Padma Shr
Source: The Hindu

The same year, Dhoni also received a special award from BCCI secretary N Srinivasan. Dhoni, who also won the ICC ODI Player of the Year consecutively in 2008 and 2009, was the first player to win the award twice. 

Source: Rediff

`12. In 2011, after a gap of 28 years, India hoisted its second World Cup, under Dhoni's captaincy.  

2011 World Cup
Source: ESPN

He finished off the match with a six, also winning the Man of the Match award. 

MS Dhoni
Source: The Week
Source: DNA

13. In 2011, Dhoni became the second cricketer, after Kapil Dev, to be conferred the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel by the Indian Territorial Army. 

Dhoni Lt. Col.
Source: India TV

He was conferred alongside ace shooter and Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra. 

Lt. Col. Dhoni
Source: WSJ

14. In 2013, under Dhoni's captaincy, India won the ICC Championships Trophy. With this win, Dhoni became the only captain to lift win all three ICC tournaments. 

2013 ICC CHampionshop trophy
Source: Rediff
2013 Championship trophy
Source: ESPN
Source: India TV News

15. In 2014, when Dhoni announced his retirement from test cricket, he had played 90 Tests for India - the most by a wicket-keeper. 

Dhoni in test cricket
Source: the National
Dhoni in test
Source: cricketaddictor

To date, he remains the only wicket-keeper to have scored a double hundred in test cricket. 

Dhoni in test cricket
Source: Rediff

16. Though cricket is a team sport, no one can contest the fact that Mahi has often led his team to victory. Like he did in 2016 when he achieved a spectacular runout against Bangladesh during the T20 championship. 

Dhoni run out
Source: India Today

17. As part of IPL, Dhoni captained the Chennai Super Kings, and led them to victory consecutively in 2010 and 2011, and later, at the 2018 season. 

Source: AK4tsay
Chennai Super Kings
Source: the sports rush

18. In 2018, M.S Dhoni received the Padma Bhushan, India's third-highest civilian honour.

Dhoni Padma Bhushan
Source: DNA

19. In 2020, M.S. Dhoni was named the captain of the ICC Men's ODI Team of the Decade. 

ICC Men's ODI Team of the Decade
Source: Twitter/ICC

Dhoni's impact on Indian cricket was such, that even people who were not fans of the sport felt a pang on hearing about his retirement. And that, perhaps, has been his greatest victory after all.