Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni remained tight-lipped about his return to Chennai as a CSK player after leading the side to its 10th Indian Premier League (IPL) final on Tuesday.
CSK beat defending champion Gujarat Titans in the IPL 2023 Qualifier 1 match at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai and marched to the final, to be held in Ahmedabad on Sunday.
With a question hanging over his IPL future, the 41-year-old Dhoni opened up at the post-match chat, saying: “I don’t know (return to Chennai as a player), I have 8-9 months to decide. I have ample time to decide. The auction is in December. I will always come to CSK. I have been out of home from January, been practicing since March, so we will see.”
CSK has return to the summit clash after a lowly 2022 season where it finished ninth on the standings, failing to qualify for the Playoffs for just the second time in 14 seasons. Speaking on the team’s return to familiar ground in the knockouts, Dhoni said: “I think IPL is too big to say it is just another final. It is no longer eight teams. Ten teams make it all the more tougher. Hard work of two months. A lot of character was shown by our players. Everyone has contributed. Yes, the middle order hasn’t got ample opportunity but they have also chipped in.”
Earlier in the season, Dhoni had hinted at prolonging his IPL (Indian Premier League) career ahead of the IPL 2023 match against Lucknow Super Giants at the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow.
“You’ve decided it is my last IPL, not me,” quipped Dhoni at the toss when asked if he was enjoying his swansong tour.
The former India skipper is known for his terse responses whenever he is quizzed about his future in the IPL. Dhoni had famously replied ‘definitely not’ when Danny Morrison had asked him ahead of CSK’s final match of the 2020 season if it was his last in yellow.
Dhoni walked out to a rapturous applause from the Lucknow crowd on Wednesday. The 41-year-old has been receiving massive support across venues in this edition of the IPL, with many believing that it could be his last as a player.
“I will just say thanks for the support, they came in big numbers. Most of these guys will come in a KKR jersey next time. They are trying to give me a farewell, so thanks a lot to the crowd,” Dhoni had said after CSK’s match at the Eden Gardens last month.
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