The stage is set and the fleets are ready for the battle, which is the only battle that India relishes to see. The eight teams are prepared to unveil a clash on the green battle-field as the most celebrated Indian Premier League is hours ahead of unfolding its 14th edition. The 14th season will begin on April 9 and will be played in the backdrop of the COVID-19 resurgence due to which audiences could miss the prospect of taking a glimpse of the game in the stadium.
While, on one hand, the fans began judging who would win the title, they are betting on the other hand that it would be the last IPL season for legendary cricketer MS Dhoni. The question of Dhoni's retirement was on overwhelming display that the team's executive came into the picture to respond to such speculations. Chennai Super Kings CEO Kasi Viswanathan has clarified that there is no room to talk about Dhoni's retirement after this season.
Speaking to an English news agency, Viswanathan said, "I don't think it is going to be his (Dhoni's) final year. This is my personal view and I don't think we are looking at anybody now". His assertion has relished Dhoni fans that the captain cool will be playing for the team at least till 2022. Apparently, it was not the first time that Viswanathan has come out with such a statement. When Dhoni's future in IPL was doubted after the 2019 World Cup, he said last August, "We can expect MS Dhoni to be part of both IPL 2020 and 2021, and probably for even the next year -2022".
Dhoni had played in 2020, he is playing in 2021, and he is going to play in 2022. It's not to be doubted that Chennai Super Kings would normally draw national attention for MS Dhoni and for being one of the successful IPL teams. This year, the team has drawn more attention with the expectation for a revival as the last reason was a kind of shock for the CSK team and fans. The team had finished last in the season and it was the only season in 13 years of IPL history that CSK has exited without entering the playoffs.
The defeat was made possible by the flawed delivery of the team on the field and the team has to revamp the corridors of batting, bowling, and fielding to have a successful comeback. The last season, which was held in UAE, has pushed the team to carry out a drive of an overhaul to fix the fractures. Recently, the IPL Auctions were on the floor to acquire new players from the cards.
While the CSK had retained MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Jagadeesan, Faf Du Plessis, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sam Curran, Ravi Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Mitchell Santner, Shardul Thakur, Karn Sharma, KM Asif, Imran Tahir, Sai Kishore, Deepak Chahar, and Lungi Ngidi, the team has acquired Moeen Ali, Krishnappa Gowtham, Harisankar Reddy, Bhagvath Varma, Cheteshwar Pujara. The CSK has stolen the auction show by acquiring Pujara, who is commonly been reserved for Test matches.
In his interview, Viswanathan also said the Super Kings' decision to pick Test specialist Pujara at the auction was due to his fine display of the game in Australia. "We also wanted to honor him (Pujara), that's for sure. But at the same time, I can tell one thing, a person of his caliber with such good technique, he can adapt to any format. That is our view. He can be a player who can contribute a lot to CSK. That's what we felt and that's the reason why we picked him".
The first match of IPL 2021 will be hosted by Chennai between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore. MS Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings will be its first match on April 10 with the Delhi Capitals and the game will be hosted by Mumbai's Wankhede stadium amid the grounds of COVID-19 spread. The real cricket battle and festival will begin on April 9 and the season will go on till May 30. Though we are not sure how the CSK would make a successful comeback, we are sure that IPL 2021 will not be the last for MS Dhoni, so save your whistles!