MS Dhoni’s retirement saga takes new turn, CSK ‘very hopeful’ of MSD’s participation in IPL 2025

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Even days after the end of CSK’s campaign, the big question remains whether 2024 was the last time MS Dhoni played in the IPL.

Among the many questions that was being before and throughout the 2024 Indian Premier League (IPL) was whether this would be MS Dhoni’s last season. Dhoni had said last season after leading Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to the 2023 IPL title that he will return next year as a way to say thanks to the fans who showed him love across the country that season.

However, Dhoni’s departure from the 2024 IPL was not a happy one. It ended with CSK not qualifying for the playoffs for just the third time in their IPL history. The playoff spot that they had held on to for much of the second half of the season was snatched away in their last game of the season after they lost to Royal Challengers Bengaluru. RCB needed to beat CSK by a margin of at least 18 runs to qualify and they did it.

Dhoni walked off the pitch without shaking hands with the RCB players and has been hardly seen since. CSK CEO Kasi Viswanath, however, has said that the franchise hpes that Dhoni will be available for CSK next year. “I do not know,” Viswanathan said in answer to a question on whether 2024 was Dhoni’s last season in a video on the CSK YouTube channel. “It is a question which only MS can answer. The question for us, we have always respected the decisions taken by MS, we have left it to him,” he said.

Dhoni had stepped down as CSK captain just before the start of the 2024 season, handing it over to Ruturaj Gaikwad. This also meant that the 42-year-old did not give any interviews throughout the season, as opposed to what was the case in the last two years where he was asked a number of times by broadcasters if he was retiring at the end of CSK’s campaign. Viswanath said that the franchise trusts Dhoni to take a call on his career just as he decided when to step down as captain.

‘We will get a decision as and when he decides’
“As all of you know, he has always taken his decisions and announced it at the appropriate time. We do expect that we will get a decision as and when he decides. But we are very, very hopeful that he will be available for CSK the next year. That is the view and expectations of the fans and mine,” he said.

Dhoni’s individual performances were largely impressive this season. Despite his age and a persistent knee injury, Dhoni remained a dependable presence behind the stumps. He mostly came in to bat as a lower-order basher rarely playing more than 7-8 balls in a match. Dhoni hit 161 runs in 73 balls at strike rate of 220.55 this season, which is the second highest behind Jake Fraser-McGurk among batters who have faced a minimum of 25 balls.

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