Chennai Super Kings' captain MS Dhoni
Chennai Super Kings' captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni plays a shot during the IPL match against Rajasthan Royals at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on April 12, 2023. Image Credit: AFP

Chennai: Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni is nursing a knee injury which is hindering his running between the wickets, the head coach of the franchise Stephen Fleming revealed after their IPL 2023 game against Rajasthan Royals, here.

During CSK's run chase against the Royals on Wednesday night, Dhoni looked a bit uncomfortable while taking doubles and didn't run at full tilt.

"He is nursing a knee injury, which you can see in some of his movements, which is hindering him somewhat. But still what you saw today is a great player for us. His fitness has always been very professional," Fleming said at the post-match presentation.

Despite his knee troubles, the 41-year-old Dhoni has been in brilliant form in the ongoing season. He smashed an unbeaten 32 off 17 balls and dragged the Super Kings' chase of 176 right down to the last ball against the Royals. The veteran batter has hit 58 runs in three innings at a strike rate of almost 215, including six sixes and two fours.

Fleming brushed aside any concerns around Dhoni's fitness and lauded him for the way he manages himself ahead of an IPL season.

"He comes a month before the tournament starts, so he doesn't get the opportunity to do a lot [before that]. He will stay fit, they will do some netting in Ranchi, but his main pre-season [fitness] is done a month before when he comes to Chennai," the CSK coach said.

"And he works his way back into match form and I think you can still see he's playing pretty well. So we never have any doubts about the way he manages himself and he always gets himself up to speed," he added.

Apart from Dhoni, the likes of Ben Stokes, Deepak Chahar, Simarjeet Singh, and Mukesh Choudhary (ruled out) are also having injury issues and South African fast bowler Sisanda Magala is the latest addition to that.

Magala, who had incidentally joined the Super Kings squad as a replacement player after New Zealand's Kyle Jamieson had been ruled out of the entire tournament due to injury, bowled only two overs against Royals before leaving the field with a split webbing.

"For us again, it's losing another player - that's two games in a row - and we're already pretty thin, so we'd like it [injuries] to stop," Fleming said.

"Magala's hand was split, unfortunately, so he was unable to bowl those last two overs. And the same with Deepak Chahar in the last game, so we're operating on pretty thin resources. But we're not the only team to have that," he added.

Notably, CSK had lost Chahar to a hamstring injury just one over into their game against Mumbai Indians. According to Fleming, he's two-three weeks away from returning to action while Simarjeet Singh who had missed almost the whole of the last Indian domestic season with an injury, is still recovering.

"I think a lot of players coming out of a big domestic season are a little bit broken, but we just keep having to find solutions," Fleming said.

"So we'll do that in the next four days. But yeah, it's not ideal yet. The captain has to then think on his feet [if bowlers keep getting injured. Moeen Ali had to come back after Magala hurt his webbing and he hadn't had a great day but he got the wicket of [Jos] Buttler which was good. And you've got young players like Akash Singh who is coming in for his first game, having to bowl some key overs. It's not how we plan but T20 very rarely goes to plan," he concluded.