As Captain Cool of the Chennai franchise since the Indian Premier League began in 2008, MS Dhoni has had a prolific impact on his team and on the tournament for a decade. Even in the ongoing edition of the tournament, his team advanced to the qualifier round with considerable ease. While many expect strong performances to conitnue in the days to come, celebrations may be a little subdued if Dhoni opts to hang his yellow jersey.
While he has not said so explicitly, Dhoni recently told mediapersons that several senior players in the Chennai team may not be playing in the next two years but that it has been a memorable journey for all of them. “Owners have been brilliant. We have a set of people who are close to the players. They have a history of understanding the game. That makes the job easy for the captain. Also if you don’t have a good team, it becomes difficult. We kept adding players and they kept performing,” he was quoted as saying by Times Now. “The big shift will be after two years, where most of these players won’t be there. Maybe they won’t be fit for the shortest format. Looking at ten years, it has been very good for us.”
At 36 years of age, Dhoni has not just led India to several laurels but even taken his Chennai team to IPL peaks – winning the tournament twice in two years and finishing second best thrice. Despite the team getting banned for two years, Chennai made a comeback this season and has continued to shine on the field as if there was no break at all. Will Dhoni’s possible retirement in the times to come have a deep impact on the franchise? Fans agree it would be a tremendous loss.
Expecting him to play on for a number of years though would be impractical. Dhoni has already retired from Test and ODI cricket – leaving his followers rather dismayed. T20 is the only format which Dhoni continues to play and excel at but he himself has said that an ageing body perhaps won’t be able to cope up with the rigours of cricket for too long. Having passed on the national team’s mantle to a highly talented Virat Kohli, Dhoni continues to have an impact on international matches courtesy his presence and experience. Even the Chennai franchise could continue to gain from Dhoni’s expertise – just in case he calls it quits from the IPL as well.
For now though, Chennai prepares for an epic clash against league toppers Hyderabad in the first qualifier on Tuesday.