Chennai Super Kings’ triumphant captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has not yet ruled out playing in the IPL next year but mentioned that his body would need to hold up for that to happen.
Under the leadership of the 41-year-old Dhoni, CSK secured a record-equalling fifth IPL title with a five-wicket victory over Gujarat Titans on Monday.
“This is the best time to announce my retirement circumstantially. But considering the amount of love I have received all over, the easy thing would be to walk away from here. However, the harder thing would be to work hard for nine months and try to play another IPL,” Dhoni stated after the final.
Dhoni has been the center of attention throughout this year’s Indian Premier League, and in a fitting end to the finale, the captain clinched his fifth trophy, leveling the record.
During this IPL, his fans from across the country flocked to the venues in large numbers to cheer for him, chanting his name wherever CSK played.
“It would be a gift from me, but it won’t be easy on the body. You do get emotional; in the first game at CSK, everyone was chanting my name. My eyes were full of water, and I needed to take some time off in the dugout. I realised I need to enjoy this. I think they love me for who I am; I don’t try to portray something I’m not. I just keep it simple,” Dhoni expressed.
Regarding the match, Dhoni commented, “Every trophy is special, but what’s special about IPL is that in every crunch game, you need to be ready. There were lapses today; the bowling department didn’t work, but the batting department took the pressure off them today.”
“I do get frustrated; I’m human. But I try to step into their shoes. Every individual deals with pressure differently. Ajinkya (Rahane) and a few others are experienced, so you don’t worry. If anyone is confused, they can always ask,” he added.
— Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) May 30, 2023
Gujarat Titans skipper Hardik Pandya, who considers Dhoni his mentor, mentioned that he didn’t mind losing to the two-time World Cup-winning India captain.
“We tick a lot of boxes, and we play with our heart. We’ve always been a team that has stood together, and no one gave up. We win together, and we lose together. Today was maybe one of those games,” he said.
“I’m not one of those guys who makes excuses,” Hardik added.
When asked about Dhoni, he expressed, “I’m very happy for him. Destiny had this written for him. If I had to lose, I don’t mind losing to him. Good things happen to good people.”
In the match, B Sai Sudharsan played outstanding innings, scoring 96 runs off 47 balls as the Gujarat Titans posted a challenging total of 214 for four after being asked to bat first. However, rain interrupted play at the start of the second innings, leading to a revised target of 171 runs in 15 overs. CSK managed to achieve the target in the final ball of the match, securing a dramatic victory.
Ravindra Jadeja hit a six and a four off Mohit Sharma in the final two balls, securing the victory for CSK. While the players in the yellow jersey rushed onto the field to celebrate, Dhoni remained in the dugout, his eyes closed.
CSK’s victory allowed them to equal the Mumbai Indians’ record for the most IPL trophy wins. The question remains whether Dhoni will return to lead CSK next year, as his potential final outing in the T20 league showcased. (With inputs from PTI)