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‘Met MS Dhoni a few days ago, his knee…’: Irfan Pathan’s honest assessment of CSK skipper’s potential role in IPL 2024

Pathan spoke in detail about MS Dhoni’s preparations going into the IPL 2024, and talked about the role he could play for CSK in the season

Chennai Super Kings will play in the curtain raiser of the 2024 Indian Premier League on Friday, as the side takes on Royal Challengers Bengaluru on Friday to kickstart the 17th edition of the biggest T20 franchise tournament. The match will also see Mahendra Singh Dhoni return to competitive cricket action for the first time since the last IPL; however, there remains significant speculation over the role the CSK captain will play this year.

MS Dhoni during CSK’s training session ahead of IPL 2024(X)

Dhoni underwent knee surgery last year following the IPL, and while he remains fully fit for the upcoming season, CSK are grappling with significant batting order troubles. While Devon Conway is ruled out of the season, Shivam Dube is also injured, and Ambati Rayudu is retired; the side did buy Rachin Ravindra in the auction last year, but the 2024 edition will mark the Kiwi youngster’s maiden appearance in the tournament.

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Owing to notable absences, speculations are rife about Dhoni potentially promoting himself up in the batting order. Over the past two seasons, the CSK captain has largely batted in the lower order and resorted his batting appearances to shorter cameos, relying more on his captaincy acumen to steer the side to victories. And if former all-rounder Irfan Pathan is to be believed, a change is unlikely.

Talking to Star Sports, Pathan stated that he met with Dhoni ‘a few days ago’, and while the CSK skipper’s knee looks fine, it won’t be a catalyst for Dhoni to promote himself. 

“Last year, Dhoni said he was giving a gift to his fans with his cricket. I met with him a few days ago, he was playing pickleball for two hours non-stop. His knee was fit as it ever was. It’s an exciting time for fans; he now has his vintage old look. Will we get the vintage old Dhoni too?” Pathan wondered as he spoke about Dhoni’s fitness.

“His role has changed in the past two years. He comes in lower-order, plays lesser deliveries but hits the big shots, the strike rate is high. It’s a small innings but a memorable one. I think there won’t be much of a change in that this year. He will continue to play that role, and would want to contribute with his captaincy. But there won’t be complaints if he treats the fans with more,” said the former all-rounder, who has worked under Dhoni at CSK.

IPL opener on March 22

CSK will host RCB in Chepauk for the opening game of the IPL and in addition to Dhoni, another India great – Virat Kohli – is set to make a return to competitive action in the game. Kohli has been away from cricket since January earlier this year; he withdrew from the five-Test series against England to be with his wife, Anushka Sharma, as the couple welcomed their second child – a son – Akaay.


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