MS Dhoni expressed uncertainty over his participation in next year’s IPL, citing the challenges in maintaining fitness and the possible rule changes in terms of player retention with two new teams. Dhoni, 40, has led Chennai Super Kings to three IPL titles and two Champions League wins.
Dhoni had retired from all forms of international cricket in August 2020, with his last appearance for India being the 2019 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand in Manchester.
In 2020, CSK failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since the tournament’s inception, but bounced back strongly in 2021 to be the first team to seal a playoff berth. On Wednesday, Dhoni had expressed his wish to play his final game for CSK at their home ground Chennai.
During the toss of his side’s last league fixture against Punjab Kings on Thursday, he conceded that he’ll continue to be a part of the Chennai Super Kings, but expressed uncertainty over his participation as a player. The 40-year-old has been named as team India’s mentor ahead of the T20 World Cup 2021, and that could be a role he could assume for CSK, should he quit as a player.
"It's tough to maintain fitness,” admitted Dhoni. “The postponement of the IPL always meant there will be more games in a short period - no concerns as such personally. You'll see me in yellow next season but whether I'll be playing for CSK you never know. There are a lot of uncertainties coming up, two new teams are coming, we don't know what the retention rules are and so on."
Dhoni is the only player to have captained in over 200 matches at the IPL (202 - combined for CSK and Rising Pune Supergiant), well clear of the second placed Virat Kohli (138).