Speculation increases on Dhoni’s future in the IPL

Dhoni is yet to announce his retirement. (Source: X.com)

Farewells are often emotional, and it may be no different for MS Dhoni in the Yellow Jersey as Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) knocked out Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in a crucial game of IPL 2024 on Saturday night in Bengaluru. Dhoni’s valiant effort — 25 off 13 balls — couldn’t save the defending champions, as they lost to RCB by 27 runs.

Ahead of IPL 2025, there will be a mega auction next year and there is widespread speculation that Dhoni may announce his retirement from the IPL.

As the 42-year-old is at the fag end of his career, fans watched with bated breath. Every ball he played, every move behind the stumps, it felt like a step closer to the end of Dhoni in the IPL.

In the crucial tie against RCB, almost like a knockout, CSK fell short. It ended their Playoff hopes, so the debate now is if fans have seen the last of Dhoni.

CSK bowling consultant Eric Simons addressed this at the post-match press conference on Saturday night. “Anyone speculating about his (Dhoni) future is going to be crazy. MS knows what he’s going to do. He’s playing extremely well, and he’ll make the decision,” said Simons.

Head coach Stephen Fleming and batting coach Michael Hussey have echoed similar sentiments over the years, emphasising that Dhoni’s future in the IPL will be his own decision.

Dhoni is expected to pave the way for younger talent ahead of IPL 2025. A legend both on and off the field, Dhoni will remain in the hearts of fans, even if he no longer graces the IPL with his presence.

After a disastrous start to the season, RCB turned their fortunes around in the second half, winning six consecutive games. Virat Kohli has always been the franchise’s biggest asset, and he proved it once again in the all-important game against CSK.

His involvement, particularly during the second innings, was instrumental. Yash Dayal, who defended 17 runs in the last over to secure RCB’s place in the Playoffs, spoke about the significant impact Kohli and Faf du Plessis had on RCB’s turnaround.

“Having Virat bhaiya on the ground with Faf brings so much positive energy, you don’t feel the pressure. As a youngster, it helps a lot,” Dayal said during the post-match press conference.

Dayal’s journey has been remarkable, from being hit for five sixes by Kolkata Knight Riders’ Rinku Singh in IPL 2023 to successfully holding off MS Dhoni in the final over of IPL 2024. It’s been a story of redemption.