While certain quarters continue to guess whether ace franchise of the Indian Premier League (IPL) — Chennai Super Kings (CSK) — will release MS Dhoni, former cricketer, Sanjay Manjrekar believes it is the retired players’ leadership that has made the difference for the yellow jerseys different. CSK made a return to the IPL last year after serving two years of interruption and made two back-to-back finals, winning the trophy once.
MS Dhoni was in good form with the bat particularly in the 2018 version but missed a game in the 2019 edition due to injury. CSK has made it to eight finals in 10 versions it played since its inception in 2008 and won three. Dhoni himself played a final in 2017 for the Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS).
Sanjay Manjrekar is of the opinion that if the 38-year-old can continue his excellent performance with the bat in 2020, it will prove to be a fruitful season for the CSK, who have never failed to qualify for the knock-out stages (the tournament had a semi-final and final system earlier and it was later changed to play-offs).
Former India captain MS Dhoni has been the most successful captain by far in the IPL — leading his sides (RPS being the other that he captained in 2016) to win in 104 matches out of 174 while losing only 69. One match did not have a result. The second best is former India player Gautam Gambhir who led his teams — former Delhi Daredevils and essentially Kolkata Knight Riders 71 times out of 129 outings.
Dhoni has a wealth of experience in the IPL as a player. In the tournament, he has played 190 matches, just three fewer than top position holder Suresh Raina.
Manjrekar feels that MS Dhoni loves to take risks with aging players
CSK has some big names in their batting line-up but their middle-order appears unsafe with an aging Raina and out-of-favor Ambati Rayudu. Kedar Jadhav has had many injury issues and has not been able to live up to expectations at CSK. Manjrekar believes taking a strong Indian middle-order batsman will be a good step for CSK in the auction.
“CSK have always had senior players in their team, they have Faf Du Plessis and Shane Watson at the top, they are having players like Ambati Rayudu and Suresh Raina at the middle, so a backup middle-order batsman would be a good idea for them,” Manjrekar, said while speaking on Star Sports show.
“Dhoni loves to take these risks with aging players, his leadership eventually makes a difference and if he can repeat last season’s performance, it would be great for the team,” he added. The Super Kings have a money bag filled with Rs 14.5 crore for the upcoming auction and will look to bring in replacements for players like Mohit Sharma, Sam Billings, and David Willey, he added.