Dhoni Will Be Doing Neither Himself Nor CSK Any Good By Staying On

Dhoni Will Be Doing Neither Himself Nor CSK Any Good By Staying On

by R Jagannathan - Wednesday, May 31, 2023 10:31 AM IST
Dhoni Will Be Doing Neither Himself Nor CSK Any Good By Staying OnMahendra Singh Dhoni.
  • It is best for one to leave when your well-wishers want you to stay rather than do so when people ask why you’re not quitting.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s fairy-tale fifth win at the Indian Premier League (IPL) T20 championships is surely one he, his team and his large fan base will cherish for years to come.

His Chennai Super Kings (CSK), one of the best franchises in the league, has hugely benefited from his captaincy and mentorship.

This was apparent when, despite going out for a duck, his team pulled through with an exciting last-ball four by Ravindra Jadeja.

The secret of Dhoni’s success can be boiled down to three things: his ability to handle pressure, his willingness to nurture young and fresh talent, and his own abilities with the bat as one of India’s great finishers in a 20-over game. His wicket-keeping and astute understanding of the game has served CSK very well.

But after the win, he hinted that he might play one more IPL season as a kind of gift to his massive fan club.

The Times of India quotes him as saying: “The amount of love and affection I’ve been shown wherever I’ve been this year, the easy thing for me would be to say, ‘Thank you very much’. But the tough thing for me is to work hard for another nine months and come back and play at least one more season of IPL…it will be more like a gift from my side (to the fans).”

One hopes he does not do that. It may indeed be the easy thing to walk away when one is on top, but it is even tougher to accept the reality that his best is behind him, and trying to pretend that he has one more season to give to CSK may be delusional. 

The fact is one can give back to CSK in many different ways, and the best way to do that is by winning and continuing to nurture a great team. That job is being done, and there is no one better than Dhoni to continue doing so.

But the one thing the current IPL demonstrated is that Dhoni is past his prime in terms of runs. His batting was patchy if not poor, and most times he got out to poor shots. He seldom ran hard.

If his only contribution is going to be behind the wicket, and/or as an astute captain, he can do at least one of those jobs as the team’s official mentor and leader outside the field. 

It is possible that Dhoni, who will be 42 this July, and will be nudging 43 by the end of the next IPL season, may still deliver on the field with lots of practice between now and March 2024.

However, this is not guaranteed, and it will come at the cost of some promising young player who ought to have been in the team. IPL has generated so much new Indian talent, that Dhoni staying on for one more year is not necessarily a good thing even for his own team.

Last year, the attempt to make Ravindra Jadeja captain went wrong. Jadeja is now back, and remains a Dhoni fan. His primary responsibility now is to ensure that a transfer of captaincy will happen smoothly this time. Playing one more season will only make this more difficult.

When other greats of the IPL, including foreign players like Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, and Chris Gayle, have moved on from the field to the dugout, isn’t it time Dhoni did the same?

It is best for one to leave when your well-wishers want you to stay rather than do so when people ask why you’re not quitting.

In December 2014, Dhoni surprised one and all when he quit as test captain after a poor run. This time he should go out on a high. Another season will do neither him nor his team any good.

Jagannathan is Editorial Director, Swarajya. He tweets at @TheJaggi.
Join our Telegram channel - no spam or links, only crisp analysis.
Get Swarajya in your inbox everyday. Subscribe here.

An Appeal...

Dear Reader,

As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.

Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.

We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.

Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.

Become A Patron
Become A Subscriber
Comments ↓
Get Swarajya in your inbox everyday. Subscribe here.

Latest Articles

    Artboard 4Created with Sketch.