MS Dhoni made a winning return to professional cricket after a 6-month layoff due to corona-virus pandemic as he led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to a convincing 5-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians (MI) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 opener.
He made some bold decisions as skipper by sending the likes of all-rounders Sam Curran and Ravindra Jadeja ahead of himself in the batting order. Former Indian batsman turned commentator, Sanjay Manjrekar indicated that these are the signs of MS Dhoni the batsman taking the back seat for MS Dhoni the captain.
Sanjay Manjrekar Credits CSK For Brilliant Performances Against MI
Chennai Super Kings are three-time IPL winners whereas Mumbai Indians have won the title 4 times and are the defending champions. MI had won the last four encounters against CSK all of them coming in 2019. They have met 29 times so far with Mumbai Indians winning 17 times, while Chennai Super Kings prevailing 12 times after the win.
“It was amazing to see Chennai win the first game, a team that thrives on turning pitches put up a brilliant winning performance against Mumbai in the opening act,” Manjrekar wrote in his column for The Times of India on Tuesday.
MS Dhoni only played two balls against Mumbai Indians and even saw being given out by the on-field umpire on the very first delivery he faced which was overruled after he sought a review. But by the time MS Dhoni had come after CSK were 153/5 chasing 163, the chase was all but finished.
MS Dhoni Have Shown Signs Of Changing CSK’s Fortunes As He Takes Back Seat As Batsman And Motivates CSK As Captain
Sanjay Manjrekar gave his opinion on MS Dhoni’s decision to promote Ravindra Jadeja and Sam Curran over him and sees it as the 39-year-old taking a step forward as a skipper where he will expose others into pressured situations with himself batting lower down the order.
“I watched Dhoni as captain in that first game where Chennai lost five wickets and Dhoni ended up zero not out after facing just two balls. While more evidence is certainly needed, people should not be surprised if they see Dhoni the batsman take a back seat to allow Dhoni the captain to guide the team’s fortunes,” Manjrekar opined.
“Picking Sam Curran, (Lungi) Ngidi in the eleven and then promoting Curran and (Ravindra) Jadeja up the order to make a winning difference are all early signs of this. With a win against Mumbai, who have been their nemesis, Chennai start as clear favourites against Rajasthan,” he concluded.
CSK have quite a few players aged over 30 in the squad, some of whom have even retired from international formats too. Some players have not played any cricket for months and some for more than a year, as meeting fitness standards is going to be the biggest struggle for them.
In such a scenario, the youngsters would need to step up and take up more responsibilities, and MS Dhoni already seems to be preparing themselves for the same.
Players like Shane Watson, Imran Tahir and MS Dhoni have already retired from international cricket, so it will be seen how the youngsters like Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Rituraj Gaekwad and Sam Curran lives up to expectations as CSK are already without veterans Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh in IPL 2020.