Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who had joined the Chennai Super Kings camp thinking the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League would start as scheduled before it was postponed, looked in spectacular touch, informed the CSK players.
The three-time IPL-winning skipper with Chennai, Dhoni, had joined the Yellow Army’s training camp on March 2 before it was cancelled on March 14 due to the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, who was picked by the franchise during the auction late last year, said Dhoni was focused and showed match-like intensity in the way he was batting and keeping.
“Mahi bhai was absolutely focused, training purposefully and was looking really good. He was showing match-like intensity in the way he was batting and keeping and that was rubbing off on others,” Chawla was quoted as saying on the CSK website.
Another leg-spinner Karn Sharma lauded his IPL skipper’s enthusiasm and said that Dhoni batted for two-three hours at nets every day and that his hitting ability was not deterred despite the long break that he was coming from.
CSK bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji also heaped praises on Dhoni’s enthusiasm and said, “MS is a natural athlete and supremely fit. He didn’t look rusty, didn’t look one bit like he was away from the game. He was clearly looking forward to the season, the way he was training, batting, keeping and being involved with the team.”
Team physiotherapist Tommy Simsek said it was the first time in about 10 years he saw Dhoni do some wicketkeeping training.
“For the first time in about 10 years I saw MS do some wicketkeeping training and that goes to show that he was definitely keen, definitely focused to do well this year,” he added.
Dhoni last played for India in the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup after which he took a sabbatical from competitive cricket. He has led Chennai to three IPL titles, besides two Champions League titles in 2010 and 2014. He has so far played 190 IPL matches (including two editions for Rising Pune Supergiants) and has scored 4,432 runs, including 23 half-centuries.
(With PTI inputs)