Dubai: Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s influence and the role in Chennai Super Kings’ success, and of course to that of Team India, is well documented in the annals of Indian cricket. However, the revered Thala, for his legion of Chennai fans, is set to begin a second innings of sorts as a mentor for the Men in Blue in the Twenty20 World Cup.
No one knows the impact of Dhoni’s presence in the dressing room more than Kasi Viswanathan, CEO of Super Kings, who has been closely associated with the skipper for many years now as part of the think-tank in the fanchise.
Speaking on Dhoni’s new role, Viswanathan summed up the entire conversation in one line: “Dhoni in any capacity for a team will be the best asset.” His words echoing the invaluable contribution of the former Indian skipper in the dressing room, which could lift the morale of the team. Dhoni displayed this trait very early in his career by winning the first Twenty20 World Cup with a rookie team in South Africa in 2007 and it continues still.
Talking about the team’s chances in the second leg of the Indian Premier League in the UAE, Viswanathan is extremely guarded in his approach and doesn’t take anything for granted, despite the Super Kings are only a few wins away from clinching the play-off spot.
“We can’t be complacent. We have to be on our toes. We have to give in everything in each and every game. All the teams are capable of beating any team on their day,” he said.
The CSK must be taking a cautious approach and ensuring nothing goes off track after a disappointing performance in the UAE the last time around. For the first time in the history of the Indian Premier League, the Yellow brigade finished at the bottom of the table, along with Rajasthan Royals on 12 points with eight losses.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led team must have long forgotten the nightmare and now are primed to reprise their vintage best in the second leg, after winning five of the seven matches held so far. The Indian players from England - Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja and Shardul Thakur - along with England’s Moeen Ali will be out of quarantine on Saturday, while Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir and Dwayne Bravo are expected to join the team after their Caribbean Premier League stint on Thursday (today) in a bio-bubble transfer.
Veteran opener du Plessis has had an injury scare after getting concussed during the Pakistan Super League and suffered memory loss before pulling out of the event in June. He subsequently gave the inaugural The Hundred a miss due to the lingering effect of the collision with Quetta Gladiators teammate Mohammad Hasnain while saving a boundary in Abu Dhabi. But the former South African skipper has been playing in the CPL since without any problem.
“We have been watching Faf play in CPL. We will know the condition once he gets here. But there are no injury concerns in the team, so far,” Viswanathan said with a huge sigh of relief.
The key to success, according to Viswanathan, is patience. “The boys are in good shape. We have to be patient and also look to do well. I am sure they will do well.”
When the umpires call play between Chennai and Mumbai Indians at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday, the whistle-podu fans must hoping that the Yellow Lions repeat their performance of the opening clash in the 2020 edition.