MS Dhoni has confirmed that he aims to continue in playing capacity for the Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2023.
Four time IPL champions CSK didn’t have the best of campaigns in 2022, with their 10th defeat of the season, coming against the Rajasthan Royals on Friday placing them ninth in the points table. It was only the second instance in their 13 years of participation that they failed to make it to the playoffs.
Meanwhile, MS Dhoni is set to continue with the team as a player and captain, as he himself mentioned at the toss against RR. The 41-year-old wishes to play once again in front of the loyal home crowd in Chennai for the first time since 2019, and hopes to bid adieu to the fans elsewhere in India.
Speaking to the host broadcasters Star Sports, Dhoni said in affirmation:
“Definitely [I will play IPL 2023]. It’s a simple reason: it will be unfair to not play in Chennai and say thank you [to the fans]. Mumbai is one place where, as a team and as an individual, I have got a lot of love and affection. But it wouldn’t be nice to the CSK fans.
“And also, hopefully next year there will be an opportunity where the teams will be travelling so it will be a like thank you to all the different places where we will be playing games at different venues. Definitely I’ll be working hard to come back strong next year.”
As per an ESPNCricinfo report which came more than an hour before the game, Dhoni has already had a word with the CSK team management of his availability as captain next year.
The 41-year-old had decided to step down from the role ahead of the 2022 season, with Ravindra Jadeja taking over the reins. However, with both observing that the added responsibility affected the latter’s all-round performance, Dhoni stepped in as the leader once again in CSK’s ninth game of the season against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Pune, which they won by 13 runs.
Dhoni had observed that the captaincy pressure was adding pressure on Jadeja, thereby affecting his preparation and his contribution as a bowler, batter and fielder.
Jadeja, who had left the CSK camp after picking up a rib injury, will continue his association with the franchise, after there were speculations of a fall out following the captaincy swap.
Dhoni, the most expensive pick in the inaugural IPL auction, has been the face of the side, and is currently the only IPL captain to lead in over 200 IPL matches. He led the team to back to back title wins in 2010 and 2011 followed by three runners-up finishes out of four till 2015, after which the team was banned for two years following a spot fixing scandal. CSK returned to win the 2018 edition, before falling a run short in the 2019 final.
A disappointing 2020 campaign, which came after Dhoni’s retirement from international cricket, raised uncertainty over his future, but a typically cheeky “Definitely Not” response created a buzz and lended positivity to the team and its fans.
CSK returned with a bang in 2021, defeating two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders to bag their fourth title.
“I still haven’t left behind,”was Dohni’s response moments before collecting the trophy.
He has also led CSK to two Champions League T20 titles, a now defunct competition, back in 2010 and 2014.
N Srinivasan, the Super Kings’ owner, too, had stressed on Dhoni’s significance to the franchise after the IPL 2021 win.
“There is no CSK without Dhoni and there is no Dhoni without CSK,”Srinivasan had said.