As IPL 2023 approaches, we are heading towards that time of the year again when fans will get to see their beloved MS Dhoni back playing cricket for a non-stop 2-month period as the. Dhoni has been an absolute legend in the IPL at one stage beings its most successful captain before Rohit Sharma took over that record, but even after all these years it has had absolutely no impact of Dhoni’s popularity. In fact, if anything, this year promises to be all the more special since for the first time since 2019, the IPL will be played across 10 different venues which means after a gap of 4 years, Dhoni will finally be playing in front of a capacity Chepauk crowd.
Having said that, fans are also aware of the fact that this could be the last year Dhoni puts on the CSK jersey and leads the side. Last year, Dhoni couldn’t stress enough that he wanted his final IPL season to be in front of the Chennai faithful, which made him return this year. But with CSK acquiring Ben Stokes at the IPL auction, chances are that this year could well witness a passing of the torch moment between Dhoni and the England all-rounder. At 40, there is a huge possibility that IPL 2023 can very well be Dhoni’s swansong.
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Suresh Raina, one of Dhoni’s closest confidantes, provided a major update on whether MS will return next year. Raina, who played most of his cricket alongside Dhoni for India and CSK alike, feels that although the chances of Dhoni playing one more season after this year seems highly unlikely, never say never.
“I wish he could, but we’ll have to see what his commitments are. He can play the IPL next year as well, you never know. He has been batting well and looking fit, it depends on how the performance is this year. It may be a little challenging since him and (Ambati) Rayudu haven’t played the tournament in a year,” Raina told on the sidelines of Legends League Cricket, where he is representing the India Maharajas.
With the IPL 2023 just a couple of weeks away, Dhoni is leaving no stone unturned to make sure his best version turns up for the tournament opener against defending champions Gujarat Titans on March 31. For this, he has been practicing hard in the nets as certain viral videos of him smashing the ball have emerged. Dhoni is aware that he hasn’t played a single competitive match over a year, and that getting back to match form and fitness can be a challenge. However, Raina is hopeful that Dhoni is at his sparkling best and can lead CSK to a record-levelling fifth IPL title.
“He picks the phone; we stay in touch. Haan… jamm ke practice kar rahe hain (yes, he’s been practicing really hard), you must have seen the videos of him (on CSK social media handles). The way he is playing the big shots (in the nets). I hope he does well and makes them win,” added Raina.