Sourav Ganguly was MS Dhoni's first captain when he made his debut for India in 2004. Four years later when Ganguly was playing his last Test match in 2008, Dhoni was in charge and allowed his captain to lead India to victory in the closing moments of the Test match against Australia in Nagpur.
But in between those moments of romanticism, a pragmatic Dhoni had led the charge in easing out Ganguly from limited-overs cricket to build a young side.
Now with the 38-year-old MS Dhoni's future uncertain, there is little room for sentiment left on the discussion table.
Ganguly too takes the businesslike approach of talking about the famed ex-captain's future.
"Every big player has to hang up his shoes. That's sport. Look at football, Maradona had to quit. There hasn't been a bigger player than him. Tendulkar, Lara, Bradman.. everyone had to quit. This is the way system has been and will be. So this scenario will come for MS as well," Ganguly told India Today.
The selectors and the team management were unequivocally behind Dhoni's utility for India's World Cup campaign in England. Things did not finish as per plan for India or Dhoni. It was expected that Dhoni would call it quits with the next 50 over World Cup in 2023 and Rishabh Pant well placed to replace Dhoni in the T20 format.
But word from the Dhoni camp is that he isn't going away just yet which prompted chief selector MSK Prasad to say, "Retirement is purely individual. A legendary cricketer like Dhoni knows when to retire. But what is the future course of action, what is the road map is in the hands of the selection committee."On more than one occasion, the ultimate finisher failed to close out games and up the ante in closing stages while setting up targets in the World Cup.
Ganguly wants the great man to ask himself if he can continue to be the match winner that was in his prime.
"He is at that stage of his career where he has to evaluate where he stands. He has to decide if he can win matches for India. If he can continue to contribute like MS Dhoni, not someone else.
"Because with players like MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, until they play, there will be expectations that they will play like in this way and win matches in this fashion. I think Dhoni has to make this decision. Only a player knows how much fuel is left in the tank and how much of his match-winning ability is intact," he says.
But with Rishabh Pant learning the tricks of the trade in shorter formats and Dhoni not getting any younger, Ganguly says Indian cricket should get accustomed to life minus the legendary cricketer from Ranchi.
"Indian cricket will have to get used to the fact that MS Dhoni won't be playing forever and he won't be around for too long. But I believe this decision has to be taken by Dhoni himself," Ganguly concluded.