As fans bid MS Dhoni 'farewell', Stephen Fleming gives bombshell update on legendary CSK captain's retirement
MS Dhoni has alluded to the fact that a number of fans around the country are bidding him farewell by supporting CSK over their own teams.
Fans wearing the yellow of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) wherever the four-time champions have played around the country has become a bit of a feature of the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL) season. While they may cheer for teams representing their cities, they have also roared whenever CSK captain MS Dhoni came out to bat and chant his name periodically throughout the games.
Opposition captains and Dhoni himself has acknowledged this phenomenon, saying that the fans are using the opportunity to bid the 41-year-old former India captain farewell. Dhoni had said after the end of the 2021 season that he will stop playing the IPL only after he gets a chance to say goodbye to the CSK fans at the Chepauk Stadium, considering the fact that the team hasn't played since they won the title in 2018. He has now got an opportunity to do exactly that with CSK returning to their home stadium.
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However, it has to be noted that Dhoni never explicitly stated that this will be his last season and CSK head coach Stephen Fleming has now stated that he hasn't said anything of the sort to him. "No, he hasn't indicated anything," Fleming said when he was asked if MS Dhoni had told him anything about retirement to him.
Dhoni had said after CSK's match against Kolkata Knight Riders that the fans at the Eden Gardens, along with those at other stadiums, are bidding him farewell. “I will just say thanks for the support, they came in big numbers. Most of these guys will come in a KKR jersey next time. They are trying to give me a farewell, so thanks a lot to the crowd,” he said.
Dhoni had also admitted after an earlier match that he is “in the last phase of his career”, a statement that send shockwaves. "All said and done, it's the last phase of my career, however long I play. After two years, the fans have had the opportunity to come here and watch, feels good to be here. The crowd has given us a lot of love and affection. Not getting enough chances to bat, but no complaints,” he had said.
Apart from being one of the most succesfull captains in the history of the IPL, having led CSK to the title four times and the final on a number of occassions, Dhoni is regarded as one of the most succesfull skippers in international limited overs cricket. He led the Indian team to victory in the 2007 T20 World Cup, 2011 World Cup and 2013 Champions Trophy and developed a reputation as being among the best wicketkeepers of his generation and one of the greatest finishers of all time. Apart from this, Dhoni was also captain when India rose to the top of the ICC Test rankings for the first time.