Home Top News Is MS Dhoni’s Farewell Tour Hurting CSK’s Chances As A Team In IPL 2024? | Cricket News

Is MS Dhoni’s Farewell Tour Hurting CSK’s Chances As A Team In IPL 2024? | Cricket News

Is MS Dhoni’s Farewell Tour Hurting CSK’s Chances As A Team In IPL 2024? | Cricket News


May 29, 2023 – Chennai Super Kings have just defeated Gujarat Titans in a thriller to clinch the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 title. After the breathless action, the crowd got treated to an iconic celebration of MS Dhoni lifting Ravindra Jadeja, with the latter clinching victory in style for his side. The sound was almost deafening at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad as Dhoni led CSK to a record-equaling fifth IPL title but the hint of melancholy could not be missed. Multiple media reports and insiders predicted that Dhoni was all set to call it a day but the crowd was not ready to say goodbye to a legend of the modern game. The spectators waited in anticipation as Dhoni came to speak at the post-match presentation but to their delight, he announced that he will be playing the next season as a ‘gift’ for all the fans.  The stadium roared in approval of the decision and the farewell tour has been somewhat troublesome for CSK in 2024.

The IPL 2024 season started with Dhoni stepping down from CSK captaincy just ahead of the tournament and Ruturaj Gaikwad assuming the role. Ravindra Jadeja had earlier tried and failed to replace Dhoni as the CSK captain in 2022 but the support from fans and team management made one thing very clear – Gaikwad is the choice for the future and the entire ‘Yellow Army’ was behind him this time.

However, what did not stop was the chatter on how much influence Dhoni will have on the pitch. Hailed as one of the master tacticians of the game, Dhoni had proven in the past that he is capable of changing any game just by his acumen. As a result, the conversations never stopped and it even led to some experts wondering out loud about how much Gaikwad will be able to exercise his control over the team.

While Dhoni the skipper was around to guide the team, Dhoni the batter went missing. The veteran wicket-keeper batter had already assumed a finisher’s role in 2023 and with a strike rate of over 180, his impact was quite clear. He came out to bat in difficult situations and played explosive knocks that the team needed and most importantly, made him famous at the very start of his career.

However, the use of Dhoni as a batter in IPL 2024 has been a mystery to both experts and fans. He did not come out to bat in the first two matches and the third match saw him come out after Ravindra Jadeja and Sameer Rizvi. Chasing a target of 192, Dhoni came out to bat quite late and despite scoring 37 off 16 balls, the pressure was a bit too much and his side fell short of the target by 20 runs. This was in direct contradiction of how he operated in 2023 – a season where he became the go-to finisher for his side.

The next couple of matches once again saw Jadeja come ahead of Dhoni and although the crowd reactions did not differ on these occasions, a question lingered constantly – Where is Thala when the team needs him? Over the years, Dhoni has batted from No. 3 to No. 7 depending on where his team needed him but at No. 8 for CSK, he just does not have enough time to show off his destructive batting.

In the modern game, more and more teams are looking to pick wicket-keeper options who actively contribute to the batting of a side. While a Lucknow Super Giants play KL Rahul, Quinton De Kock and Nicholas Pooran at the same time, Rajasthan Royals are also going for Dhruv Jurel and Jos Buttler. In contrast, CSK does not have a single other wicket-keeping option registered other than Dhoni in their official website. An injury to Dhoni can cause a major problem as Devon Conway is not available at the moment and youngster Aravelly Avanish Rao seems to be the only possible option for the role.

While CSK may benefit from having a ‘specialist leader’ like Dhoni, it is something that even a mentor role could have accepted for the superstar. CSK have started the campaign in 2024 well but it is Dhoni’s role in the side that has left a few experts and fans scratching their heads. When Dhoni dropped a fairly simple catch against Kolkata Knight Riders, it was never a blemish on Dhoni’s exceptional career but it was somewhat indicative of a bigger problem – Is the farewell tour turning into a problem for CSK?

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