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Dhoni after CSK.

by Gaurav Sethi

 A triple-role with Delhi Capitals? Or a coaching stint at 'Ranchi Sunrisers'?

Every season, the one question that does the rounds is: is this his last season? Last year, MS Dhoni gave every indication that he wanted to play at his CSK home ground, Chepauk, and then take a call on his IPL career. 

Dhoni’s call has been answered by every stadium in India. Every stadium has been a sea of yellow. A CSK fortress. No matter where, it's been Mahi’s home ground. The high point of every CSK match has been when MSD's come out to bat. Ad breaks ceased. Both Star and Jio have been largely aligned on this. 

It may have been for just a few deliveries, towards the end of every CSK innings but MSD has come out swinging each time – striking at nearly 200, Dhoni’s daredevilry with the bat has left all gasping for more. After 12 matches, even though MSD has faced a mere 50 deliveries, he has scored 98 runs, with 10 sixes. Dhoni out in the middle has been an event.

It hasn't been uncommon for even those not watching the match, to turn it on. It hasn't been uncommon for those who were turned on elsewhere, to turn to the match. It's been the Dhoni factor. Mobiles switched on, TVs tuned into, viewership peaking. Everyone have sensed, this season is all about Dhoni’s withdrawal. 

The eternal question has been, what will CSK be after Dhoni stops playing? Everyone expected that he would remain with the franchise in some capacity, most probably as a mentor, much like Tendulkar is with Mumbai Indians. 

Apparently it could be quite to the contrary. It has been learnt that Dhoni hopes to take on something more challenging – a leadership role at a hopeless franchise, either Delhi Capitals or Sunrisers Hyderabad. Both teams are languishing at the bottom, with a handful of games remaining. Dhoni wishes to see, by the end of the season, which of the two teams is more useless. 

In their two matches against each other, DC and SRH have won one match a piece. The margin of defeat has been similar, 7 and 9 runs. Both teams chasing had 4 wickets in the bank, played their overs out, and tested the patience of their handful of fans. 

Asked if this is true, Dhoni remained non-committal but did say, “Even useless teams have some use. I remember when I was at the Pune franchise (Rising Pune Supergiants), I did feel they had some use – when I returned to CSK, it was with new vigour. I’m not saying I will be taking on a leadership role with either of the teams but I’m not ruling it out either. One must keep looking at fresh challenges. 

"Sometimes I feel that we at CSK, with Flem as coach and me there too, are a well-oiled machine. We need to challenge ourselves. That’s why, if you remember, we made Jadeja the captain in between. The rest, y’kno, everyone saw. Some will remember the issues with Raina too, what seemed like a non-issue but really, it’s how you decide to look at matters and take them in your own hands”

The Delhi management said they’d love to have Dhoni in any role: “Ideally we’d like to have him captain, coach and mentor our team as we are missing persons in all three roles. It has been a painful experience for us and we are looking to rename the franchise again. We also are looking at Dhoni to suggest a new name or if he’s fine with us using his name, something like Dhoni’s Delhi – we feel it has a ring to it but finally it is what Dhoni is comfortable with. We are also comfortable to change our jersey to yellow as that is something he is used to. It is still early days and I do not want to make any comments as such so please don’t quote me”

The Hyderabad franchise claimed ever since things had been going south for them, Dhoni was on their mind. “Dhoni’s association with the south is well documented. He is revered in Chennai. Also, the shift from yellow to orange (SRH’s colours) will be quite seamless. I know, DC is keen to have him on board but I do feel, MSD and Hyderabad are a natural fit. I have heard that Delhi is wooing him with a change in name, we will pull out all stops too. We are even prepared to call ourselves Ranchi Sunrisers to make him feel at home”. 

When contacted regarding the comments of the DC and SRH management, Dhoni kept it brief, “Nothing to add”.

Just then, Dhoni’s phone rang with the tune 'Main pal do pal ka shayar hu.’

(However plausible this may sound, this is a work of fiction)

First published at 


Fiza Khan said...

What a delightful piece of fiction featuring MS Dhoni after his time with CSK! The description of every stadium in India turning into a sea of yellow whenever Dhoni played was truly captivating. It's amazing how his presence on the field can grab the attention of viewers and draw them in, even if they weren't initially watching the match., it's an enjoyable read that sparks the imagination and reminds us of the lasting impact Dhoni has had on Indian cricket.

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