MS Dhoni's cryptic 'new season-new role' IPL post adds suspense to CSK future | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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MS Dhoni drops cryptic 'new season-new role' post as CSK captain fuels speculations about his future ahead of IPL 2024

By, New Delhi
Mar 05, 2024 07:11 AM IST

Ending his social media hiatus in the lead-up to the IPL 2024, CSK skipper MS Dhoni shared an eye-catching post on Facebook.

MS Dhoni, who is all set to return to competitive cricket through the Indian Premier League, has left everyone on tenterhooks as the Chennai Super Kings captain made a very rare appearance on social media on Monday to hint at a new role in the franchise for IPL 2024. Dhoni, 42, is expected to play his final season this year, after he promised a return to the tournament following a triumphant season in 2023. While everyone expected to see Dhoni return as captain, MSD's post sure promises to fuel speculation about his future at CSK.

What new 'role' could MS Dhoni be talking about?(ANI)
What new 'role' could MS Dhoni be talking about?(ANI)

"Can't wait for the new season and the new 'role'. Stay tuned," Dhoni posted on Facebook. Dhoni was last seen having a ball at the pre-wedding celebrations of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant in Jamnagar. Present at the occasion with wife Sakshi and a plethora of Indian celebrities, Dhoni was seen learning dandiya with former CSK teammate Dwayne Bravo. It should be noted that Dhoni has not yet arrived at the CSK training camp that has gotten underway in Chennai where the likes of Deepak Chahar, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Rajvardhan Hangargekar and others have already started training.

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Dhoni, with five IPL titles, is the joint-most successful captain in the history of the tournament along with Rohit Sharma. And while no one is aware as to what the new role is, CSK fans would be hoping it's not related to a leadership change. If not as a player, will the 2024 season witness the return of 'mentor' Dhoni? Possible. He served that role with the Indian cricket team at the T20 World Cup in 2021, and with some of his peers such as Gautam Gambhir having embraced 'mentorship', Dhoni could be heading the same way. Or could not.

The chances of it are far and few given Dhoni has already started training in the nets. Two years ago, ahead of CSK's season opener at IPL 2022, Dhoni stepped down as CSK captain setting the stage for Ravindra Jadeja to take over. But after a dismal start to the season, which saw CSK lose five games in a row, Dhoni was reinstated. CSK, then the defending champions, failed to qualify for the Playoffs, but under Dhoni, the franchise roared back to claim a record-equalling fifth championship last year.

And he did so while nursing an injured knee. Through the season, Dhoni was in pain, was often seen with an ice-pack when in dressing room and reportedly even took injections before matches. However, immediately after the IPL, Dhoni underwent knee surgery, pretty much indicating that he will be back for another hurrah.

Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket on August 15, 2020 – more than a year after playing his final match for India, the World Cup 2019 semifinal against New Zealand at Old Trafford Cricket Stadium in Manchester. Although Dhoni called time on his India career, he continued to play for CSK in the IPL. The year 2020 marked the first season ever where CSK could not qualify for the Playoffs, but the following year, Dhoni was back doing Dhoni things as he led the team to another trophy win.

Dhoni is the most capped IPL player of all time, with 250 appearances. The only player to remain captain since the very beginning, Dhoni had to jump ships to the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiants/Supergiant in 2016 and 2017 after CSK were slapped with a two-year ban. But once the suspension was lifted, it was as if CSK took off from where they had left, with Dhoni taking the team to a win in 2018 and a runner-up finish in 2019. With over 5000 runs, Dhoni is the fifth-highest scorer by an Indian in the IPL behind Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina.

Dhoni's CSK sign Shardul and Rachin for IPL 2024

Defending champions CSK released superstars Ben Stokes, Dwaine Pretorius, Ambati Rayudu, and Kyle Jamieson ahead of the new season. Enjoying a busy day at the IPL auction, Dhoni's CSK roped in Rachin Ravindra (Rs. 1.8 crore), Shardul Thakur (Rs. 4 crore), Daryl Mitchell (Rs. 14 crore), Sameer Rizvi (Rs. 8.40 crore), Mustafizur Rahman (Rs. 2 crore) and Avanish Rao Aravelly (Rs. 20 lakh).

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