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MS Dhoni’s last season in IPL? There is enough evidence available

MS Dhoni’s last season in IPL? There is enough evidence available

MS Dhoni has done enough in his 17-year-long IPL career to be the most loved player in country, across franchises.

Who would be the first cricketer to come to your mind, when asked the following questions — favorite player in IPL, favorite skipper, favorite wicket-keeper, and favorite Indian player from IPL and overall? Guess there is only one player who fits the bill, and that is MS Dhoni. Over the years, Dhoni has moved beyond the status of a legend, and is treated like a demi-god, not just in Chennai, but entire India, where his word is the holy grail, and his actions a matter of deep observation & admiration.

Ever since Dhoni hung his boots from international cricket, fans and fellow cricketers only feared that the IPL retirement might soon follow, but the ex-CSK skipper has certainly outlived their expectations. He is 42, and playing in his 17th season of the IPL. But the fear is peaking this year for many reasons, and the biggest announcement from MSD might just be around the corner. Here’s why:

More on Dhoni

Handing Captaincy to Ruturaj Gaikwad

Just a day prior to the start of IPL 2024, youngster Ruturaj Gaikwad was handed over the reigns of the team. Not that it was the first time, CSK captaincy had moved away from MS Dhoni — Ravindra Jadeja was made the skipper in 2022, but this time it was different. The responsibility was handed out to a player, keeping long-term future in mind, with Ruturaj only 27 right now. In fact, this was long on the cards, as the new captain later revealed that the same was discussed during the last edition of the IPL. So Dhoni’s succession plan is already in place.

Is MS Dhoni Injured?

Last year, after the IPL, Dhoni underwent a knee surgery. This year, though fit to play the matches, he has been seen limping on and off the field, wearing a black band to support his left knee. In fact, it’s so visible, that one doesn’t understand, how is he even to manage to play. On Sunday, when CSK played MI, it was pretty clear that Dhoni was in much pain, but continued to play. Though he was magnificent with his 20 from 4 balls, and his keeping as well, but then the limp only increases as the match came to an end. So fitness seems to be a mighty concern for the Thala.

Keeping CSK Fans Happy

This year, surprisingly, Dhoni has played a lot more deliveries, from what he did in the last few years, or is at least making more efforts to get some batting time, all for the fans. In 2021, he faced 107 balls in 16 matches, in 2023, it was 57 in 16, and this year it has been 25 in six matches. Dhoni also seems to be going out of the way to please the Chennai crowds. In fact, he has been lethal this year. The way he smashed Anrich Nortje and Hardik Pandya all over the park, it just looked like, Dhoni was trying to give a farewell gift.

In the match against KKR, when the victory was almost sealed, Dhoni decided to play a trick. He asked Jadeja to go for a bat, but the latter returned just before crossing the rope. And then, in came Dhoni, that drew massive roar from the crowd.

No One Knows What Dhoni Does

Of course, no one really knows what goes in the head of the man, all he might just go on to play another season, but the writing is there on the wall. All good things do come to an end, and sadly the era of MS Dhoni, at some point will end too. And when the day does come, it would be impossible for any Indian player to surpass his popularity or craze.

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