While certain quarters continue to speculate 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 veteran’s leadership that has made the difference for the yellow jerseys different. The CSK made a return to the IPL last year after serving two years of suspension and made two back-to-back finals, winning the trophy once.
MS Dhoni was in good form with the bat particularly in the 2018 edition but missed a game in the 2019 edition because of injury. The CSK have made eight finals in 10 editions it played since the inception in 2008 and won three. Dhoni himself has also played a final for the Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) in 2017.
Sanjay Manjrekar is of the opinion that if the 38-year-old can continue his good show 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 initially and it was later changed to play-offs), once more.
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 games out of 174 while losing only 69. One match was inconclusive. The second best is former India player Gautam Gambhir who led his teams — former Delhi Daredevils and primarily Kolkata Knight Riders 71 times out of 129 outings.
As a player, too, Dhoni has a sea of experience in the IPL. He has played 190 matches in the tournament, just three less from the top position holder Suresh Raina.
MS Dhoni loves to take chances with ageing players, feels Manjrekar
CSK boasts of some big names in their batting line-up but their middle-order appears vulnerable with an ageing Raina and out-of-favour Ambati Rayudu. Kedar Jadhav has had various injury issues and has not been able to live up to the expectations at CSK. Manjrekar believes picking a strong Indian middle-order batsman will be a good move for CSK in the auction.
“CSK have always had senior players in their squad, they have Faf Du Plessis and Shane Watson at the top, they have got players like Ambati Rayudu and Suresh Raina at the middle, so a backup middle-order batsman would be a good idea for them,” Manjrekar, 54, said while speaking on Star Sports show Game plan.
“Dhoni loves to take these chances with ageing players, his leadership eventually makes a difference and if he can replicate last season’s performance, it would be great for the team,” he added. The Super Kings have a purse 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.
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