IPL 2023: How MS Dhoni is still producing the results at 41

The legendary cricketer is coming up with useful cameos, usually at number eight, to help Chennai close in on a playoff berth this season

By Reuters

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Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni during a practice session. — PTI
Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni during a practice session. — PTI

Published: Thu 11 May 2023, 2:34 PM

Last updated: Thu 11 May 2023, 2:35 PM

It has been nearly four years since MS Dhoni quit international cricket, but the 41-year-old continues to deliver the goods for Chennai Super Kings after reinventing himself as a lower-order enforcer with the bat this season.

Dhoni retired from the international duties in 2019 as India's most successful captain, having led the team to the T20 World Cup title in 2007 and the 50-over crown four years later.


He masterminded Chennai Super Kings' four successful campaigns in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and remains immensely popular in Chennai, where people affectionately call him 'Thala', which means 'leader' in Tamil.

Widely regarded as a master tactician, Dhoni is also known for his swashbuckling batting - best illustrated by his unbeaten 183 against Pakistan in a 2005 one-day international in Jaipur.


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Although he cannot reprise those knocks of his prime, Dhoni is producing useful cameos, usually at number eight, to help Chennai close in on a playoff berth this season.

Against Delhi Capitals on Wednesday, Dhoni's nine-ball 20 helped Chennai post 167-8, setting up their 27-run victory in the low-scoring contest.

Dhoni's average of 48 is second among the Chennai batters and his 204-plus strike rate is higher than that of any of his teammates.

"I have told them, 'This is what I am supposed to do, don't make me run a lot' and it has been working," Dhoni quipped after the win against Delhi. "This is what I need to do, happy to contribute with whatever deliveries I'm getting."

Coach Stephen Fleming said Dhoni had tailored a customised training to prepare for the role.

"He's really concentrated on those last three overs," Fleming said. "He's concentrated on really strong hitting practice and you can see the benefit of that."

A measure of his popularity is that teammate Ravindra Jadeja is apprehensive of batting ahead of his captain and incurring the wrath of their fans.

"Even when I'm batting (at number seven), I can hear them chant his name," the all-rounder said after the match against Delhi. "If I bat higher, they'd pray for my dismissal (so they can watch Dhoni bat)."


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