Kolkata: Mahendra Singh Dhoni can be quite a dispassionate person when it comes to taking career-defining decisions - be it laying down the Indian team’s captaincy or finally calling time on his international career with a cheeky instagram post last year.
One witnessed a streak of that when Dhoni, the talismanic captain of Chennai Super Kings, chose to temper the romance of his legend with the yellove with a touch of pragmatism during a post-toss chat before their last league stage game against Punjab Kings in IPL 2021 in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
Answering to the by-now ritual question of whether he would be seen playing in the yellow shirt in IPL 2022, Dhoni said: “Well, you can see me in yellow next year. But whether I will be playing for CSK? There are a lot of uncertainties around it for a simple reason that we have two new teams coming up,” he said referring to the IPL’s expansion into a 10-team competition from next season.
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“We don’t know the retention policy. We don’t know how many foreigners, Indian players we can retain, the money cap that every player will be cutting from the kitty. So there are a lot of uncertainties.
“Unless the rules are in place, you can’t really decide that. So we will wait for it to happen and hopefully it will be good for everyone,” he added.
The comment has already created a flutter as only earlier this week, while interacting with fans during the 75th year celebrations of India Cements, Dhoni dropped elaborate hints that he will be seen playing the next season with the CSK. Many are seeing it as a U-turn, but fact remains that the CSK management’s decision to retain Dhoni is directly related to the number of Indian players that each franchise would be allowed to retain under the new scenario - which will have two new stakeholders who may want a level playing field to choose their players from in the mega auction.
The buzz at the moment is CSK are keen to retain three Indian players - Dhoni, allrounder Ravindra Jadeja and prolific opener Ruturaj Gaikwad - with Jadeja’s name being floated around as a potential successor to ‘Captain Cool.’
“When it comes to farewell, you can still come and see me play for CSK and that can be my farewell game. So, you will still get that opportunity to bid me farewell. Hopefully, we will come to see Chennai and play my last game over there and we can meet fans there,” Dhoni had said earlier this week.
The former India captain, incidentally, has not played in Chennai since 2019 as the 2020 IPL was held in the UAE. During the first leg of this year’s edition, CSK played their matches in Mumbai before the league was suspended due to a breach in the bio-bubble.
Can the diehard Whistle Podu fans, then, get to bid their favourite ‘Thala’ (leader) adieu in their backyard? We will just have to wait for few more months to know the answer.