We have to wait another 4 days to see MS Dhoni back on the field in the yellow jersey. The wait is agonising but exciting at the same time.
The Indian Premier League is all set to start off with a bang as Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians kick start the tournament with the first match on April 7 at the Wankhede stadium.
The 11th season of the IPL will be very interesting to watch for a number of reasons and Dhoni’s return as captain of CSK will be a major attraction. IPL will return to Chennai after a gap of two years as CSK served the suspension due to their involvement in 2013 spot-fixing case.
— Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) April 3, 2018
Once the match starts at the Wankhede, trust even the Mumbai Indians faithfuls to cheer for the opposition just because of Dhoni. We can safely assume that many fans from Chennai will also travel to Mumbai for the match. Afterall it’s like a cult following down south.
Dhoni’s CSK has created a separate identity for themselves based on their dominant run in the league over the years. The former India captain is loved by millions around the world but his following in Chennai is at a different level altogether.
CSK and Dhoni is like a marriage made in heaven. Therefore, it came as no surprise when the franchisee’ retained him for a whopping Rs 11 crore along with two other star performers – Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja.
Chennai had to go all out for Dhoni not just for his popularity but also because of the record that he has as captain in the past 8 years.
Dhoni is still the most successful IPL captain with 83 wins and 59 losses in 143 games. The 36-year-old has led CSK in 132 matches since 2008 and has won 79 games, lost 51 while 2 matches failed to produce results.
In the 8 seasons up until 2016, CSK won back-to-back IPL titles in 2010 and 2011. They also clinched the Champions League T20 twice in 2010 and 2014. Apart from the titles, Chennai have ended as runners-up on four occasions and were semi-finalists twice which means that they have never been knocked out of the competition in the league stages.
He is also one of the only three captains to have won the cash-rich T20 league at least twice. Gautam Gambhir (twice with Kolkata Knight Riders) and Rohit Sharma (thrice with Mumbai Indians) are the other two.
After CSK was suspended for two seasons, Dhoni played for Rising Pune Supergiant. But he failed to weave the magic of his CSK stint at RPS. He could only manage five wins out of the 14 matches and the franchise finished seventh in the eight-team tournament in the team’s debut season in 2016.
This led to Dhoni’s removal from captaincy and the reins were handed over to Australia’s Steve Smith for the 2017 season who led them to the runners-up spot.
But this year Mahi is gearing up to lead a new-look CSK although they did manage to get back their core group of players including Dwayne Bravo and Faf du Plessis along with Raina and Jadeja. CSK have also added notable players like Kedar Jadhav, Shane Watson and Imran Tahir to their roster.
The southerners will have a huge reputation to live up to and the preparations have already begun. While the team is back training to get into the rhythm before the season begins, they are also enjoying some great time off the field and are leaving no stone unturned to announce their return.
Last week, CSK released a series of videos and pictures on Instagram, in which the players could be seen having a blast.
In one of the videos, Dhoni could be seen dancing with his teammates while in another video, Harbhajan Singh is doing Bhangra while sitting in an autorickshaw.
The team also opted for an open-top bus parade for their first practice session last week which was a big hit in Chennai as thousands lined up on the streets to cheer for the players.
With such high hopes from CSK, Dhoni will have a huge task at hand of starting off from where they left the in 2015. But he is a seasoned campaigner and a vastly-experienced captain who can get the job done no matter what.
Therefore, trust Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings to start as one of the favourites to win the title once again this year. Watch out for the yellow brigade! #KhabarLive