The anticipation for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 season is reaching its peak, and all eyes are on one of the tournament’s most iconic figures – MS Dhoni. The former Indian captain, who has been a stalwart for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK), is set to lead the team in the 16th edition of the IPL. However, the question on everyone’s mind is whether this will be Dhoni’s swansong or if he’ll continue to grace the cricketing stage in IPL 2024.
Suresh Raina, Dhoni’s longtime teammate and friend, has added fuel to the speculation by expressing his belief that MS Dhoni might surprise the cricketing world by extending his IPL career. Raina, speaking during the Legends League Cricket tournament in Doha, noted that Dhoni has been looking fit and batting well in the lead-up to the IPL 2023 season. Clips of Dhoni smashing big sixes and enjoying himself at the CSK training camp have gone viral on social media, igniting hopes among fans that the cricket maestro has more to offer.
Dhoni, at the age of 41, has not given any hints about retiring from the IPL, and his decision to play in the 2023 season was confirmed last year. His motivation for participating in this edition was not solely focused on on-field performance; Dhoni expressed his desire to travel across the country, thanking fans for their unwavering support over the years. It adds a sentimental touch to what could potentially be his final IPL campaign.
The question of Dhoni’s future beyond IPL 2023 raises interesting points. Raina acknowledges the challenges that players like Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu might face in getting into the groove without competitive cricket in the lead-up to the tournament. However, Raina doesn’t rule out the possibility of Dhoni donning the yellow jersey for CSK once again in IPL 2024.
“He can play the IPL next year as well, you never know,” Raina remarked during the Legends League Cricket tournament in Doha. The seasoned cricketer emphasized Dhoni’s current form, stating, “He (Dhoni) 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 for one year.”
Raina’s observations about Dhoni’s form and fitness align with the optimism surrounding CSK’s prospects in the upcoming season. Despite Dhoni relinquishing captaincy at the start of IPL 2022, he had to take over mid-season as Ravindra Jadeja stepped down. Now, with a strengthened squad including the likes of Ben Stokes and Ajinkya Rahane, Raina believes CSK has the firepower to challenge for their fifth IPL title.
The journey begins for CSK on March 31, as they open their IPL 2023 campaign against Gujarat Titans at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. As fans eagerly await Dhoni’s performance on the field, the possibility of witnessing his magic extend to IPL 2024 adds an extra layer of excitement to the cricketing spectacle. For now, all eyes are on the “Captain Cool” as he leads his team in what could be a historic season.