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‘MS Dhoni at No.8 is crazy. Stephen Fleming wants to…’: Batting coach Mike Hussey on CSK’s plans in IPL 2024

If CSK batting coach Mike Hussey is to be believed then the chances of MS Dhoni getting promoted up the order in IPL 2024 are slim.

When Shivam Dube was going all guns blazing and Daryl Mitchell was doing his best to keep the scoreboard ticking in an IPL 2024 match against the Gujarat Titans, the cameras turned towards the Chennai Super Kings dugout. Behind the glass doors, MS Dhoni was seen shadow-practising his big hits. Five overs were left in the innings and CSK had as many as seven wickets in the bank including an extra batter. It was an ideal time for a Dhoni show.

Stephen Fleming (R) with MS Dhoni(PTI)

The knowledgeable Chepauk crowd sensed that and so did the hero cam of the broadcasters. It was fixed on Dhoni. In between deliveries, the broadcast would switch to that camera where Dhoni was the focus. A big crowd would erupt in anticipation. It’s been almost a year that the world hasn’t seen Dhoni bat in a competitive cricket match. The wait was prolonged when Dhoni didn’t get a chance to come out in the middle to wield his willow in the IPL 2024 opener against the Royal Challengers Bengaluru.

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On Monday, the anticipation kept rising. When Dube, after playing a superb knock of 51 off 23 balls, got out while attempting to deposit Rashid Khan into the stands in the second ball of the 19th over, the Chepauk crowd waited with bated breath for Dhoni to emerge from the dugout. The familiar confident stroll, the authoritative glance and the swag-filled approach to the crease – what a sight it is. Only if the CSK management thought from the heart.

In walked young Sameer Rizvi. There was a collective gasp in Chepauk but the young right-hander made an immediate impression by hitting his first ball in IPL for a six. He smashed another six in the last ball of that over.

Rizvi got out in the third ball of the last over. The more than 30 thousand strong Chepauk crowd and the billions glued to the screens once again hoped against hope. Three balls were never to be enough for Dhoni but who cares. The possibilities of a fairytale hat-trick of sixes cannot be ruled out. But fairytales are far from reality. Ravindra Jadeja was sent in at No.7.

Mike Hussey on Dhoni’s batting position coach Fleming’s plans for CSK

The wait grew longer. Dhoni is yet to get a chance to get to bat in the 17th edition and if CSK batting coach Mike Hussey is to be believed then the chances of the legendary cricketer getting promoted up the order are slim. Hussey said it is a bit “crazy” to have Dhoni at No.8 but the Impact Player rule allows to them field an extra batter every time.

“It’s definitely been a directive from (Stephen) Fleming to keep pushing the game forward with the impact player we have an extra batter and bowler so the batting order just keeps lengthening. I think we’ve now got MSD at 8 which is crazy. And MSD is batting pretty well at the moment (in the nets) because we’ve got so much depth in our resources, it means that the players up the order, if they are in two minds, take the positive route. They will certainly have the backing from the coaches and captain. We prefer them to keep pushing the game forward. If you get out in doing that, you will never be criticised. Fleming wants us to play fast,” Hussey said.

New Zealand’s Rachin Ravindra hit an explosive 46 and took three catches to help holders Chennai Super Kings to their second straight IPL win with a 63-run thrashing of Gujarat Titans. The left-handed Ravindra, in his debut IPL season, made his runs off 20 balls while captain Ruturaj Gaikwad also hit 46 as Chennai posted 206-6 at their home M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.

Seam bowlers Mustafizur Rahman, Deepak Chahar and Tushar Deshpande took two wickets each to help restrict Gujarat, led by Shubman Gill, to 143-8 and go down to their biggest IPL loss by runs.


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