IPL 2020: ‘Maybe they thought I’m retiring’ - MS Dhoni’s stunning explanation on why players collected his CSK jerseys
‘Definitely’ and ‘not’ were perhaps the two most trending and impactful words of the cricket world on Sunday when used together. WhatsApp statuses, Twittter feeds, Facebook timelines, Instagram stories - ‘Definitely not’ ruled everywhere. Accompanying the words were a photo of MS Dhoni in yellow, albeit in different moods and positions. The Chennai Super Kings captain had made the world know that IPL 2020 won’t be his last. He would return in the next season, which is barely ‘five months away.’
Then what about players from different teams collecting a signed MS Dhoni jersey from him almost after every game in the second half of the Indian Premier League? “Perhaps they thought I’m retiring,” was Dhoni’s answer. But he was ‘definitely not’.
If the toss result of the Chennai Super Kings vs Kings XI Punjab match was eclipsed by Dhoni’s announcement of being available for the next season of IPL, the post-match conference was all about Dhoni explaining what ended up as CSK’s worst season in the history of the tournament and of course, the reasons behind high-demand for his jerseys.
“Good to see you’ve got some jerseys left, everyone has been sneaking some jerseys from you,” said presenter Harsha Bhogle when Dhoni walked up to have a chat with the official broadcasters after CSK’s 9 wicket win over Kings XI Punjab.
“Maybe they thought I am retiring, you know. I retired from international cricket, so they might be thinking I am retiring from IPL as well,” was Dhoni’s reply.
“Definitely not, right?” was Bhogle’s next question referring to the earlier statement of Dhoni at the toss with Danny Morrison. “Definitely not,” Dhoni said for the second time last night.
A league-stage exit is a first for the three-time champions and one IPL’s most successful franchises.
“We need to slightly change our core group and look for the next 10 years,” Dhoni said after the team’s final league game.
“At the start of the IPL, we made a team and it served well. There comes a time where you have to shift a bit, hand it over to the next generation.” Dhoni, 39, vowed that his team will come back strongly in the next season.
“We’ll come back stronger, that’s what we are known for. It was a difficult campaign. We committed a lot of errors. The last four games were a template of where we would like to be.
Dhoni accepted that team didn’t play to its full potential.
“I don’t think we played to the full potential. If you are lagging too much, it becomes very difficult to push yourself and come up with performances. Very proud the way they played their cricket. It would have been very tough 6-7 games.
“You won’t want to be in a dressing room that is not really enjoying cricket. You want to keep coming up with different ideas but if the dressing room atmosphere is not happy, it becomes very tough.
“A lot depends on what the BCCI decides upon the auction. This has been a tough year. This is one of the seasons where most of the teams played well.”
The 23-year-old Gaikwad stood out again with his fine strokeplay and temperament and Dhoni was full of praise for the batsman.
“Whenever we have seen Rutu bat, he’s somebody who has done well in net sessions. But we were not able to see him in games. Then he got Covid, and even after 20 days he was not fit. He didn’t get time for us to gauge... “... That was one of the main reasons we kept going with Faf and Watson. It didn’t work. But that’s the point where you go with the experienced players.”
(With PTI inputs)