Dhoni will decide his future, says CSK official

Dhoni in action at an IPL match. Source (X)

Is the upcoming IPL going to be MS Dhoni’s swansong in competitive cricket? The Chennai Super Kings management is leaving it to their skipper himself. “He will decide. You know, we never ask him,” a top CSK official told RevSportz.

Dhoni is 42 and the IPL will have a mega auction in 2025 where the franchises will reconstruct their respective teams for the next few years. It will be natural for the teams to build for the future. But Dhoni and CSK have a different kind of relationship, which goes way beyond the veteran wicketkeeper-batsman leading the side on the field.

Currently, Dhoni is attending CSK’s training camp in Chennai, practising with top intensity. “He looks very keen,” said the official. The franchise obviously has a succession plan, but any decision regarding the future captaincy will have Dhoni’s seal of approval.

Only a few days ago, in an interview with former India batsmam S Badrinath on the latter’s YouTube show, CSK chief executive Kasi Viswanathsn spoke about how the franchise has left it to the captain himself and coach Stephen Fleming to decide Dhoni’s successor, and that’s of course when the great man will call time on his playing career.

Sooner or later CSK will have to find a successor for Dhoni and it will not be easy. To draw a football analogy, it will be like finding the replacement for Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, and even after 11 years of the great manager’s retirement, the club hasn’t found one.

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CSK had tried to experiment with Ravindra Jadeja as captain in 2022. But it faltered to the extent that Dhoni had to take charge mid-season to steady the ship. So it’s about replacing the irreplaceable and the franchise needs someone who is an achiever and will have the respect of the dressing room.

It’s interesting that former India middle-order batsman Ambati Rayudu, a title winner with CSK, has spoken about the possibility of Rohit Sharma moving to the Chennai-based franchise. Rohit has been stripped of Mumbai Indians captaincy this term and it will be interesting to see his chemistry with his successor Hardik Pandya.

For the moment, however, everything remains as a matter of conjecture and only time will tell what is going to happen. A lot will depend on how Dhoni’s body reacts to the rigours of the IPL. At the training camp, he looks supremely fit.

How confident are CSK about defending their title? “Our captain’s mantra is never to think about the title. It’s about doing the process right. Dhoni says, if we do the process right, we will get there,” said the official.

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