Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Though speculation was rife that Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captain MS Dhoni will retire after the 2023 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the Captain Cool underwent knee surgery to make himself fully fit and available for IPL 2024.

Meanwhile, CSK are grappling with significant batting order troubles. While Devon Conway is ruled out of the season, Shivam Dube is also injured, and Ambati Rayudu is retired. Under the circumstance, fans and experts are expecting Dhoni to promote himself in the batting order.

Over the past two seasons, Dhoni has largely batted in the lower order and restricted his batting appearances to shorter cameos. He has relied more on his captaincy acumen to steer the side to victories.

Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan believes that any change in Dhoni’s batting order is most unlikely to happen. As per Irfan, he met with Dhoni a few days ago and while the CSK captain’s knee looks fine, it won’t be a catalyst for Dhoni to promote himself.

“Last year, Dhoni said he was giving a gift to his fans with his cricket. I met with him a few days ago, he was playing pickleball for two hours non-stop. His knee was fit as it ever was. It’s an exciting time for fans; he now has his vintage old look. Will we get the vintage old Dhoni too?” said Pathan.

“Dhoni’s role has changed in the past two years. He comes in lower-order, plays lesser deliveries but hits the big shots, the strike rate is high. It’s a small innings but a memorable one. I think there won’t be much of a change in that this year. He will continue to play that role, and would want to contribute with his captaincy. But there won’t be complaints if he treats the fans with more,” the former all-rounder added.