Harbhajan Singh Claims ‘Owner’ MS Dhoni Will Always Remain With Chennai Super Kings

Written by Mohan Sharma

With another Indian Premier League (IPL) season heading towards its conclusion, the question about MS Dhoni’s future has once again taken centre stage. It has been the norm since 2020 when he drew curtains on his international career and decided to stick only with the IPL. ‘Definitely Not’ was his answer to retirement queries back then. After winning the record-equaling 5th title in Ahmedabad last year, he extended his IPL career by another year for Chennai fans. But what’s next? Only the man knows himself.

Dhoni has been a man of few deliveries in the ongoing season. Despite the knee surgery last year, the legendary wicketkeeper-batter has been battling pain and struggling visibly. He may be limping at times off the field and obviously, with his age, he is not as athletic as he used to be 4-5 years back. But when in action, he has guaranteed optimum entertainment to the crowd, irrespective of the match results.

The former CSK has batted in 10 innings and was dismissed only twice, including a first-ball duck. But on most occasions, he has made the most impact with the bat as he smashed the bowlers all around the park. Among all his cameos, the one that stood out was against Mumbai Indians when he hammered 20 off just 4 balls, hitting Hardik Pandya for 3 sixes at Wankhede.

But on the other hand, the scenes at Chepauk on Sunday evening hinted that the IPL 2024 could be Dhoni’s last. The defending champions had defeated Rajasthan Royals comprehensively and moved up to grab the third spot on the table. After the victory, the players of the CSK were felicitated with medallions before they performed a lap of honour to express their gratitude for the fans who have been showering love on the team for years.

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Was it Dhoni’s last IPL gig at the Chepauk on Sunday? It remains a mystery as the franchise will never entertain such talks, especially when the team is on the verge of yet another playoff selection. But what if it’s really the last season when Dhoni is taking the field in yellow? Will the franchise retain the legend in some other capacity – maybe a coach or a mentor – if the legend hangs his boots after this season?

Replying to this CricketNext query on Star Sports Press Room show, Harbhajan Singh, commentator & Cricket Expert with IPL official TV Broadcaster, said Dhoni ain’t leaving CSK.

“He’s the owner of the team. Uske marzi ke bina waha patta bhi nahi hilta. It’s his team. He has given his blood, sweat and everything to this team. He will always be a part of the CSK group, whether as a mentor or as a coach. He’s everything over there,” the former CSK star said.

“You will definitely see him in the CSK dugout in the coming seasons. Maybe not as a player but in some other capacity, but he will be there with the players,” he added.

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Mohan Sharma