Following Chennai Super Kings’ remarkable victory in the IPL 2023, the triumphant captain, MS Dhoni, has left open the possibility of participating in the next season.
Speculations regarding Dhoni’s potential retirement have been circulating since the commencement of the 2023 IPL, hinting that this edition could mark his final appearance in the tournament.
Under Dhoni’s leadership, CSK clinched their fifth record-equalling fifty IPL titles, here on Monday.
In a final that was pushed to the reserve day owing to heavy rain, Chennai was set a revised target of 171 in 15 overs when the rain had stopped play a few balls into their innings after the Gujarat Titans had ridden on a quickfire 96 by Sai Sudharsan and a half-century by Wriddhiman Saha to post 214/4 in 20 overs.
CSK looked in trouble as they needed 13 from the final over. Mohit Sharma bowled four superb deliveries, conceding just three runs before Ravindra Jadeja hammered a six and a four off the last two deliveries to seal a dramatic victory for CSK in the thriller.
After the win, when the CSK skipper came up for a chat at the post-match presentation, Harsha Bhogle did not waste any time and jumped right to the main question. “We meet again. We meet again like we so often do after these title wins. Should I ask you something or are you going to tell me something anyway?”
To which, Dhoni replied, “it’s better if you ask and then I reply.”
Bhogle said: “I asked you when you last won a trophy, about the legacy you leave behind in CSK. You said, ‘I haven’t left it behind yet.”
Dhoni said, “Looking for an answer? Circumstantially if you see, this is the best time to announce my retirement. But the amount of love and affection I have been shown wherever I have been this year, the easy thing would be for me to say ‘Thank you very much’, but the tough thing for me is to work hard for another 9 months and come back and play at least 1 more season of IPL. A lot depends on the body, I have 6-7 months to decide. It will be more like a gift from my side, it’s not easy for me but that’s a gift.”
Dhoni openly acknowledged that tears welled up in his eyes upon hearing the crowd chant his name during the inaugural match of the 2023 Indian Premier League against the Titans at the same venue.
“You do get emotional simply because it’s the last part of my career, it started over here and the first game when I walked down everyone was chanting my name. My eyes were full of water, and I just stood there in the dugout for a while. I realised I want to enjoy this.
“It was the same thing in Chennai, it was my last game over there, but it will be good to come back and play whatever I can. I think they love me for what I am, they love that I am so grounded, I don’t try to portray something I’m not. Just keep it simple.”
The CSK skipper has achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first cricketer to participate in 250 IPL matches. Additionally, he has captained the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in an impressive 10 IPL finals, emerging victorious in five of those. It’s worth noting that in 2017, while representing the Rising Pune Supergiants, Dhoni also competed in the IPL final.