By India Today Sports Desk: MS Dhoni admitted he had tears in his eyes after he heard his name being chanted by the crowd in the opening match of the 2023 Indian Premier League against Gujarat Titans at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on March 31. Nearly two months later, as Chennai Super Kings defeated the Titans in the season finale to win their fifth IPL crown, Dhoni revealed he was emotional in the last phase of his career.
MS Dhoni had announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket in 2020 and since then there has been constant speculation over his future in the Indian Premier League. However, Dhoni continued to delight his fans by coming back year after year and finally on Tuesday, after CSK won their fifth IPL title, the venerable captain promised to play the IPL next summer too.
When asked after the match if he would retire or play in 2024, MS Dhoni said the easier decision would be to hang his boots but he wanted to push his body for another season of the IPL as a gift to his fans who have poured in huge numbers in stadiums across the country as Chennai Super Kings completed another successful captain. This was the 10th time in 14 editions that they reached the final.
“The way they’ve shown their love and affection, I think that’s something (coming back in IPL 2024) I need to do for them. You do get emotional simply because it’s the last part of my career, it started over here and the first game when I walked down everyone was chanting my name. My eyes were full of water and I just stood there in the dugout for a while,” Dhoni told STAR Sports. “I realised I want to enjoy this. It was the same thing in Chennai, it was my last game over there but it will be good to come back and play whatever I can. I think they love me for what I am, they love that I am so grounded, I don’t try to portray something I’m not. Just keep it simple.”
The biggest relief for fans of Chennai Super Kings and MS Dhoni came when the captain confirmed he wasn’t going to retire after a fifth IPL tile as many had speculated throughout the season.
“Looking for an answer? Circumstantially if you see, this is the best time to announce my retirement. But the amount of love and affection I have been shown wherever I have been this year, the easy thing would be for me to say “Thank you very much”, but the tough thing for me is to work hard for another 9 months and come back and play at least 1 more season of IPL. A lot depends on the body, I have 6-7 months to decide. It will be more like a gift from my side, it’s not easy for me but that’s a gift,” Dhoni said.
MS Dhoni became the first cricketer to play 250 IPL matches. He has now led CSK to 10 IPL finals, winning five of them. As a member of the Rising Pune Supergiant, he had also played the IPL final in 2017.
MS Dhoni battled a dodgy knee in the 2023 IPL but he was super sharp behind the wickets and hit 10 sixes in the season to bring back memories of the golden times when he was the most feared finisher in the shorter formats of the game. He came out to bat with CSK almost nearing the finish line in the final against GT but he fell to Mohit Sharma for a golden ball duck.