MY KOLKATA EDUGRAPH
ADVERTISEMENT
regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Captain Inscrutable keeps India guessing: Ahead of IPL 2024, Dhoni teases fans with cryptic post hinting at a new 'role'

CSK will be defending their IPL crown --- their fifth, which is the joint highest along with Mumbai Indians --- when they begin their campaign at home against Royal Challengers Bangalore on March 22, the opening day of the season

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 05.03.24, 09:12 AM
A picture posted on X of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and wife Sakshi (extreme right) joining Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant during their pre-wedding festivities in Jamnagar.

A picture posted on X of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and wife Sakshi (extreme right) joining Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant during their pre-wedding festivities in Jamnagar. The Telegraph

Sometimes seen, seldom heard, Mahendra Singh Dhoni remains as enigmatic as ever.

With the IPL a little over a fortnight away, Dhoni has again sent his fans and cricket lovers into a tizzy with a cryptic message that he posted on Facebook shortly before 7pm on Monday: “Can’t wait for the new season and the new ‘role’. Stay tuned!”

ADVERTISEMENT

That the word 'role' has been written within inverted commas is also intriguing. Will Thala, as Dhoni is affectionately called because of his leadership prowess, become a mentor to Chennai Super Kings, the franchise he has led since 2008? Will he be a mentor but play only a few games? Or is it just a promotional stunt ahead of the IPL?

Or, will Dhoni look at opening the innings for CSK given that New Zealander Devon Conway has been ruled out for at least eight weeks owing to a left thumb surgery?

CSK will be defending their IPL crown --- their fifth, which is the joint highest along with Mumbai Indians --- when they begin their campaign at home against Royal Challengers Bangalore on March 22, the opening day of the season. And in a rematch of last year’s final, they will take on Gujarat Titans, also at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium.

Of late, Dhoni has been coming into bat late, maybe after the 15th over of the innings. He hasn’t scored heavily but his strike rate has been high. Last season, for example, his strike rate for the 104 runs he scored in 12 innings was 182.45.

Dhoni has so far not joined the CSK pre-season camp that got underway on Saturday. Of course, he was away --- Dhoni and his wife Sakshi were seen enjoying themselves at the pre-wedding festivities organised in Jamnagar by Reliance boss Mukesh Ambani and his wife Nita Ambani for their younger son Anant and his fiancée Radhika Merchant.

Dhoni will be 43 this July but like tennis star Rohan Bopanna, who turned 44 on Monday, his fitness and reflexes still match the youngest in the game. He can still smash those enormous sixes effortlessly that once made him arguably the finest finisher in white-ball cricket. Last season, he hit 10 maximums.

After winning the IPL last year, Dhoni had said that the easy thing for him to do would be to call it a day but the “tough thing for me is to work hard for another nine months and come back to play at least one more season of IPL”. "It’s more like a gift from my side for the way they have shown love and affection,” Dhoni had said, referring to his legions of fans irrespective of franchises and geographical boundaries.

But Dhoni is an enigma who remains as inscrutable as ever. His teammates never got an inkling of his retirement plans in the middle of a Test series in Australia in 2014. He then drew the curtains on his international career on August 15, 2020, with an Instagram video captioned, "Thanks a lot for your love and support throughout. From 1929 hrs consider me as retired." Why '1929 hrs'? No one still quite knows.

From one cryptic post to another, MS knows how to keep India hooked.

Follow us on:
ADVERTISEMENT