Dubai: Mahendra Singh Dhoni may not be seen again in an Indian shirt but he will continue to remain the ‘Thala’ (leader) of Chennai Super Kings even past 40 years of age, according to the franchise boss.
“We don’t worry about him at all. Yes, we can expect M.S. Dhoni to be part of both (IPL seasons in 2020 and 2021) and probably for even the next year, 2022,” Kasi Viswanathan, CEO of Chennai Super Kings, said in a TV interview on Tuesday.
Dhoni has not played a competitive game since India’s World Cup semi-final defeat last year, but is due to return to action when the delayed IPL begins in the UAE from September 19.
Dhoni, who has led Chennai to three IPL titles and a Champions League title (now defunct), will celebrate his 40th birthday in July next year.
He remains an influential figure in Indian cricket with any hint of retirement causing concern among fans.
Viswanathan said he had only seen media reports that Dhoni has been training in indoor nets in his home state of Jharkand. “But we don’t have to worry about the skipper,” Viswanathan said. “He knows his responsibilities and he will take care of himself and the team.”
Dhoni has been a part of CSK since its inception and apart from the two seasons when the franchise was suspended, the wicket-keeper batsman has led the team in IPL. “Dhoni will play this year, next year he will go to the Auction and we will retain him,” N. Srinivasan, founder of the franchise, had said in a promotional event earlier this year.
The CSK players are due to arrive in Chennai this week before leaving next week for Dubai where they will host an acclimatisation camp.