It is a question that may carry both presumption and irresponsibility. But, strangely, it is also a query that has the feel of inevitability considering all the events and personality around it.


  • It is a question that may carry both presumption and irresponsibility. But, strangely, it is also a query that has the feel of inevitability considering all the events and personality around it.
    It is a question that may carry both presumption and irresponsibility. But, strangely, it is also a query that has the feel of inevitability considering all the events and personality around it.
    Has Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the talismanic captain of the Chennai Super Kings which was beaten off the last delivery of the IPL 2019, played his last match as a player in the tournament?
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Has Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the talismanic captain of the Chennai Super Kings which was beaten off the last delivery of the IPL 2019, played his last match as a player in the tournament?

Dhoni looked disconsolate all through the presentation ceremony last night. Understandable, one would say, considering this was an agonising loss and such defeats are tough to digest.

But Dhoni is known to keep his emotions under check, and not for nothing he is called the ‘Captain Cool’. He has an enviable equipoise towards both victories and losses. But last night, things looked decidedly different. It was clear he was hurting inside that seemed to go beyond the immediacy of a tough defeat against an opponent that CSK never managed to beat even once all through the 4 meetings in the season.  

Even Sanjay Manjrekar, who interviewed him post-match, sensed it.

Dhoni, at 38, anyway cannot have many more years left in the game which continues to put a premium on fitness and agility. This season his performance was one against the clock — both his wicket-keeping as well as his batting looked sharp. It was clear that the great man was putting in that extra effort as if it were his last hurrah.

Also, the talk in the CSK camp is that the ageing side has run its course. The feeling is that the team needs to a thorough overhaul with a fresh crop of faces. Even before this season started, insiders were whispering that this year might be the last one for this core.

Every great team, across sports, goes through a cycle of extraordinary performances and then it is dismantled and regrouped through new members. It is in the nature of club sports. CSK is already setting up itself ready for that.

But Dhoni would have to sit with N Srinivasan (the man behind the CSK franchise), whom he considers a father figure. “Any talk of retirement as a player from the franchise sport would not be his decision alone,” says a team insider. He will also speak to the head coach Stephen Fleming with whom he has struck a wonderful rapport over the last decade.



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