Dhoni was not only a calm captain himself, he was the cause for calmness in others.
He smiled, he showed displeasure, he chatted to bowlers, but while his immediate message was clear, no one could bet on what his thinking was.
To catch the cricket fraternity by surprise twice in two years - first while quitting Test cricket, and now when relinquishing captaincy in one-day internationals - is no mean feat.
Dhoni read the one-day game better than he did Test cricket, and was India's finest captain in the shorter formats.
He led India to victory in three tournaments - World Twenty20 (2007), World Cup (2011) and Champions Trophy (2013) - so the record matched his reputation.
He tended to let the longer game drift occasionally, and seemed to feel the pressure of not losing his early Tests, something that might have rendered him more defensive once the streak was broken.
The shorter formats were different.