"The decision comes as a huge surprise. Though it is not sudden. I was expecting him to step down from captaincy after the Sydney match but did not think he will retire as a player. I still think that he had 2 or 3 more years of cricket left in him," Gavaskar said.
A spate of overseas Test losses forced the 33-year-old captain to call it a day from the longer format after India's draw at the MCG, which did not save the Border-Gavaskar Trophy from staying with Australia. Gavaskar said the pressure of captaincy can sometimes get too much.
"In a captain's life sometimes the burden gets too heavy. This Test match (Melbourne game) was like that. There are times when you try everything and nothing works. And probably that time had come for Dhoni," he said.
On reacting to Dhoni's post-match comment of allowing this team some more time and the series a "learning curve" for many a young player, Gavaskar said it was a case of pure excuse.
"This is like a student who is failing in Standard I for long. Unable to move into Standard II. It's been a long long learning curve for the team. Especially the bowlers. We have had enough patience with the bowlers.
"The batsman no doubt have done well. And if the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, keep going the way they are going, India will certainly do well."