From finishing second from bottom last year to lifting their fourth IPL trophy, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) etched a fairytale comeback.
From the lows of the last year to finishing on the pinnacle, this turnaround had every ingredient to make for a perfect movie script.
Now that the season is over, the focus has shifted on the future of the franchise and which players should they retain ahead of the mega auction next year.
Fans and cricket experts are divided in their opinions, some think MS Dhoni should continue to lead the franchise next year as well, while others like South Africa legend Shanu Pollock believe he has already won everything that was there to be won and has nothing to prove.
The former South Africa all-rounder believes that having won the title after last year’s setback, there couldn’t be better timing for Dhoni to announce his retirement as he would be leaving with his head held high like a true champion.
Pollock even added that he would be surprised if the Ranchi-born cricketer decided to play the IPL next year.
“What more he has to prove? To play in yours 40s, to have won as many as trophies he has, to bounce back from the way they played last year. It would have been very disappointing had he not played this year after the way he finished last year. But sometimes things just align and the timing seems perfect. I don’t expect him to come out and say ‘look I am retiring, that’s my victory’ he will probably leave it in one or two weeks’ time, but I will be very surprised if he returns,” Pollock said on the Cricbuzz Live show.
The 40-year-old keeper might not have contributed with the bat during this just-concluded campaign but his decision-making from behind the stumps was one of the reasons why they were able to stage a remarkable comeback and prove their critics wrong who had labelled them as ‘Dad’s Army’ and demanded a complete overhaul in their squad after last year’s disastrous outing.
Ignoring the outside noise, the CSK talisman showed faith in the abilities of the same group of players and it worked wonders as they were one of the teams to beat this season from start to finish.
While his leadership is still top-notch, Dhoni doesn’t look a shadow of his old self when it comes to batting. He struggled throughout the season and, barring one innings, kept pushing himself down the order, knowing he was out of touch.
The upcoming mega auction will provide the teams with a chance to build their squads for the next three years and it’s highly unlikely that Dhoni would be there till the end. So, it makes sense that he asks the franchise to not use their retention card on him and instead retain players like Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ravindra Jadeja around whom the squad can be built around for the next two three years.
While the CSK management wants him to lead the squad next year as well, Dhoni has said that whether he plays the IPL next year or not depends on the BCCI and how many retentions do they allow before going into the mega auction.
This is quite a big conundrum for the legendary skipper and knowing Dhoni, whatever decision he takes would be done keeping in mind CSK’s best interest.Internet Explorer Channel Network