Dhoni’s last dance? Fans think so



The fans’ favoutite, MS Dhoni (Image: IPL)

S Arif, store manager at Dhoni Sports in Chennai, is pretty certain that the 2024 IPL is going to be MS Dhoni’s swansong as a cricketer. Vijaykumar, a die-hard Dhoni fan, who dropped in at Chepauk on Thursday evening, hoping to catch a glimpse of his hero’s training, echoes Arif. Unlike previous years, CSK’s training sessions this term have been off-limits to the visitors and Vijaykumar and his mates couldn’t help but leave disappointed.

What makes the likes of Arif and Vijaykumar so sanguine that this year is going to be Dhoni’s last? “It’s been ringing in the air,” Arif said, speaking to RevSportz. “Not only me, almost everyone here knows that he (Dhoni) will retire after this season. We thought that last season would be his last. But thankfully, he decided to play one more season. We have a strong feeling that Thala [The Boss] won’t continue after this year.”

Dhoni has a mind of his own and he has never publicly spoken about his retirement plans. The CSK management, too, is tight-lipped on the issue. Asked about this, CSK chief executive Kasi Viswanathan told RevSportz: “He hasn’t told us that this is going to be his last. But if at all he decides it, he will let us know.”


On a day MS Dhoni relinquished Chennai Super Kings captaincy, the franchise CEO Kasi Viswanathan explains to RevSportz what went on behind the decision to appoint Ruturaj Gaikwad as new skipper.@msdhoni #MSDhoni


— RevSportz (@RevSportz) March 21, 2024


Relinquishing captaincy and handing it over to the young Ruturaj Gaikwad is probably the biggest hint yet that fare-thee-well is nigh. Dhoni is at the centre of all cricket activities at the franchise, and he has been managing the transition.

Little wonder then that Dhoni’s ‘last dance’ has become a part of his team’s campaign this season. As Arif mentioned: “Not only us, people from outside know this. Fans are coming from Dubai and some even from the United States to watch the first game (the IPL opener between CSK and Royal Challengers Bengaluru) on Friday.”

There have been so many memories. Ravindra Jadeja’s six and a four in the final over in last year’s final against Gujarat Titans that resulted in an on-field embrace between the player and his captain at the end of the match. Only a season previously, Jadeja had fallen out with Dhoni and contemplated leaving the franchise.

It started with the left-handed all-rounder being appointed the captain, but the experiment faltered to the extent that Dhoni was forced to take charge mid-season to steady the ship. Jadeja’s social media activity spoke volumes for his disappointment. But like a true leader, Dhoni didn’t act in haste. He let the raw emotion subside and now, all is hunky-dory again. CSK will hope their experiment with Gaikwad doesn’t go awry and the youngster seamlessly fits into the role. He will always have the benefit of turning to his predecessor for guidance.

Look who’s batting

MS Dhoni in action at CSK nets and is smashing sixes for fun!

@CricSubhayan#IPL2024 pic.twitter.com/bPQcCHeKon

— RevSportz (@RevSportz) March 21, 2024


Returning to the past, there’s the memory of Shane Watson’s title-winning innings – 117 not out off 57 balls – against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the 2018 IPL final, the year when CSK returned to the fold after a two-year exile. During the ban, Dhoni plied his trade for the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant, and after a fallow year, he was unceremoniously removed as captain, with Steve Smith taking charge in the second year. Such a situation has always been unthinkable at CSK.

This is not only for the fact that Dhoni’s leadership has made his franchise the most consistent – five titles and only two league-stage exits – in the IPL. The relationship between the player and CSK actually goes way beyond cricket. Dhoni is part of the family and he has a free hand in all cricket matters, including his retirement.

A few years ago, this correspondent had asked N Srinivasan, the former BCCI president and the de facto CSK head, about Dhoni’s love affair with Chennai. On the face of it, this is not normal – Dhoni basically being a northerner and Chennai a city in the south. Srinivasan, who has been fatherly to the superstar wicketkeeper-batsman, didn’t have a clear answer either. “Maybe, it’s because of the way Dhoni embraced the city, and that was right from the very beginning,” he said. “He would go out on his motorbike, go to different places and that created a connection. And obviously the way he has led, he has been fantastic.”

There has been a lot of speculation over Dhoni’s future. From that perspective, his decision to hand over the reins to Gaikwad appears logical. Dhoni is 42 and not getting younger. The IPL will have a mega auction next year, where the franchises will build for the future. So an elongated farewell won’t be out of order. The great man has earned it.

Perfect Finish for MS Dhoni!

Ruturaj Gaikwad to carry on the baton of CSK captaincy. @CricSubhayan reports from Chennai.@ThumsUpOfficial @msdhoni #MSDhoni #RuturajGaikwad pic.twitter.com/tBKSmmCBe2

— RevSportz (@RevSportz) March 21, 2024


The post Dhoni’s last dance? Fans think so appeared first on Sports News Portal | Latest Sports Articles | Revsports.


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