MS Dhoni Profile, ICC Ranking, Biography, Records, Career info & Stats

MS Dhoni

Shardul Thakur. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Shardul Thakur. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Shardul Thakur’s Fortunes Have Changed Ever Since He Has Joined CSK In 2018: Virender Sehwag

Shardul Thakur, the fast bowling all-rounder, picked up 21 wickets from 15 matches to emerge as the highest wicket-taker of the season for IPL 2021 winners CSK, ensuring that his career graph maintained its upward curve.

Impressed with Shardul Thakur’s progress, former India dashing batsman Virender Sehwag lauded the 30-year-old and credited his association with CSK and its captain MS Dhoni for the terrific turnaround in his career. Virender Sehwag feels Shardul Thakur has turned over a new leaf since joining CSK, which has seen him grab 55 wickets for the four-time IPL champions.

Shardul Thakur
Shardul Thakur[photo: Twitter]

Shardul Thakur’s Fortunes Have Changed After He Joined CSK: Virender Sehwag

Chennai Super Kings proved yet again why they are the most consistent IPL team of all time. Over the IPL, only once did CSK fail to reach the Playoffs, which was last year (IPL 2020). Still, as the team is renowned always to stage a fabulous comeback, CSK did exactly that in IPL 2021, winning the title by beating Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs in the final in Dubai.

While most of CSK’s triumph focused on Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf du Plessis, Ravindra Jadeja, and Deepak Chahar, one person who went under the radar is Shardul Thakur.

Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag (Image Credit: Twitter)

“He is CSK’s highest wicket-taker this season. He came to bowl the 11th over where he took two wickets and the game changed from there. His fortunes have changed ever since he has joined Chennai Super Kings. He’s played most of his cricket for India after playing for CSK,” Virender Sehwag said.

CSK acquired Shardul Thakur in 2018, and although he had represented the national team in ODIs and T0Is earlier, the same year, he went on to make his Test debut later in November. Shardul Thakur, who has been consistently among wickets for the Mumbai Ranji team, was inducted into the Indian squad for the Test tour of the West Indies(2018). Although, his big moment came in Sri Lanka when he made his ODI debut for India (2017).

Shardul Thakur Has Performed Well For CSK, Which Has Reflected In Int’l Cricket Success: Virender Sehwag

Although it took Shardul Thakur to cement his place in the team, he has produced a good case for himself with both bat and ball, scoring three half-centuries and picking 14 wickets from four Tests.

“Before joining CSK, he used to be in and out of the team, but having played for Chennai, he entered the Indian Test team, the one-day side, and the T20 unit as well. As I said, his fortunes have changed, not only because he has played for CSK but also because he has picked up wickets and performed well,” added Virender Sehwag.

Shardul Thakur | Twitter
Shardul Thakur | Twitter

In his brief international career, pace all-rounder Shardul Thakur has played 4 Tests picking 14 scalps averaging 22.71 besides amassing 190 runs with 3 fifties averaging 38. He has also played 15 ODIs and 22 T20Is, picking up 22 and 31 wickets, respectively.

Fast bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur who was named in the reserves, replaced Axar Patel in India’s main squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup to be held in the UAE and Oman from October 17. The selectors wanted a cover for pace bowling all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who plays for Mumbai Indians, not bowling during the IPL because of fitness issues.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who conceded 54 runs in four overs in India’s first warm-up clash against England before the T20I World Cup, may not be picked for the mega clash against Pakistan as Shardul Thakur’s chances to play against Pakistan have increased.

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya
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T20 World Cup 2021: Hardik Pandya Admits Responsibility Is On His Shoulders In MS Dhoni’s Absence

Hardik Pandya was all praise for MS Dhoni and stated there will be a big responsibility on his shoulders like a lead finisher of the team in absence of the former India captain in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

With the Indian team management assessing all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s back over the last week, it was decided that he will primarily be a finisher in the World Cup in UAE.

Hardik Pandya Image Source : GETTY
Hardik Pandya Image Source: GETTY.

Hardik Pandya loves challenges thrown in his way:

Sources in the team management had said Hardik Pandya is still not 100 percent fit when it comes to bowling, but his experience when it comes to absorbing pressure and finishing games with the bat cannot be overlooked.

“The biggest so far, I will say, because this time I don’t have Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Everything is on my shoulders — I like to think that way because it gives me an added challenge. It is going to be exciting, a cracker of a tournament,” Hardik told ESPNcricinfo when asked about how big a responsibility it will be to be a lead finisher of the Indian team going into the T20 WC.

Shardul Thakur | Twitter
Shardul Thakur | Twitter

Hardik Pandya also threw light on how MS Dhoni was one of the people who helped him during the difficult time when the all-rounder was suspended by the BCCI for comments made on a TV talk show.

“MS was someone who understood me from the start: how I function, what kind of a person I am, what are the things I don’t like, everything. When I was picked for the New Zealand series [in January 2019, after the suspension was revoked], initially there were no hotel rooms [for Pandya in New Zealand]. “

“But then I get a call, saying, “You just come. MS has told us, ‘I don’t sleep on the bed [in any case]. He will sleep on my bed and I will sleep on the floor.'” He [Dhoni] was the first person who has been always there. He called me around the same time I had the conversation with Akash [Ambani].”

“He knows what kind of an individual I am. He knows me quite deep. I am very close to him. He is the only person who can make me calm. When all this happened, he knew that I needed support. I just needed a shoulder, which he provided multiple times in my cricketing career. I never saw him as MS Dhoni the greatest. For me, Mahi is my brother. I respect and admire the fact that he was there when I needed him the most,” he added.

Hardik Pandya was initially chosen as a batting all-rounder in India’s main 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup. However, with uncertainties about his ability to roll his arm over, the Indian selectors even had to bring in pacer all-rounder Shardul Thakur from the reserve list to the main squad at the expense of spinner Axar Patel to beef up the seam-bowling department.

Hardik Pandya has been bothered by multiple injuries lately. The seam-bowling all-rounder did not bowl a single delivery for the Mumbai Indians (MI) during IPL 2021 and even missed a couple of games due to fitness issues.

Hardik Pandya: MS Dhoni Is A Life Coach In Many Ways

The all-rounder also stated that MS Dhoni is a life coach for him.

“In a certain way, yes. We have lovely conversations. As I said, only Mahi can make me understand certain things. Sometimes if I get strong-headed and I go into that zone and I believe some things, I have to call him and say, This is on my mind. What do you think? Then he will explain. So, yes, in a lot of ways he is a life coach,” he said.

Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (Photo:AFP)
Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (Photo: AFP)

“Staying with him, obviously, you learn to be mature, you learn to become humble. I have learned a lot by watching him. He never loses his cool.”

Notably, MS Dhoni is currently with Virat Kohli and boys as the mentor for the team in the World Cup in UAE. India will open its T20 World Cup campaign against Pakistan on October 24 in Dubai. After the upcoming T20 World Cup, Virat Kohli will be stepping down as the side’s captain in the shortest format.

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni (Image Credit: Twitter)
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Chennai Super Kings Will Use First Retention Card For ‘Skipper’ MS Dhoni In IPL 2022

Chennai Super Kings fans were elated when skipper MS Dhoni after lifting the IPL trophy, told Harsha Bhogle at the post-match presentation on Friday that he hadn’t yet left behind a legacy. However, while it was seen as a sign that fans might still get to see the legend on the cricket pitch, the CSK management has now confirmed the same.

A CSK official said the first retention card at the auction will be used to retain the captain of the ship.

Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)

Chennai Super Kings Will Use First Retention Card For MS Dhoni In IPL 2022

MS Dhoni had said he hadn’t left behind with a wide grin when the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captain was asked if the talismanic batsman is proud to have left a legacy behind in 12 seasons for the newly crowned Indian Premier League (IPL) champions. However, one of the most successful captains in the shortest format of cricket, MS Dhoni, had earlier admitted to the ‘uncertainties’ surrounding the 2022 edition of the cash-rich league.

“There will be retention and that is a fact. The number of retentions isn’t something we are aware of yet. But honestly, that is secondary in MS’ case because the first card will be used for him. The ship needs its captain and rest assured he will be back next year,” the official said.

MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)

MS Dhoni, on his part, played it like he always has as he said CSK will try to make a strong core that can contribute for the next few years.

Asked about the road ahead after registering his fourth title win in the IPL, Dhoni said: “Again I’ve said it before, it depends on BCCI. With two new teams coming in, we have to decide what is good for CSK. It’s not about me being there in top-three or four. It’s about making a strong core to ensure the franchise doesn’t suffer. The core group, we have to have a hard look to see who can contribute for the next 10 years.”

In the IPL 2021, the likes of CSK openers Ruturaj Gaikwad (635 runs) and Faf du Plessis (633 runs) finished as leading run-getters in IPL 2021. Moeen Ali (357 runs), Ambati Rayudu (257 runs) also delivered in crunch situations. Dwayne Bravo (14), Deepak Chahar(14), Ravindra Jadeja(13), Josh Hazlewood(11), and Shardul Thakur(21) were amongst the wickets.

MS Dhoni Credits KKR For Comeback After Covid-19 Induced Break

He even made it a point to first congratulate Kolkata Knight Riders for this season’s tremendous display before talking about his own team’s display.

“Before I start talking about CSK, need to talk about KKR. Difficult to come back and do what they have, if any team deserved to win the IPL, it’s KKR. Huge credit to the coaches, team, and support staff. The break really helped them. Coming to CSK, we shuffled players. We had match winners coming game after game and doing really well,” said Dhoni.

Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders (Image Credit: Twitter)

“Every final is special, if you look at stats, we may say we’re the most consistent team to lose the final too. I feel it’s important to come back strong, especially in the knockouts. Frankly no chats, we don’t talk a lot [meetings]. It’s more one-on-one, our practice sessions are meeting sessions. The moment you get into a team room, it brings about different pressure,” he added.

Dhoni didn’t forget the all-important CSK fans and said: “I would love to thank the fans, wherever we’ve played, even when we were in South Africa, we’ve always had a good number of CSK fans. That is what you crave. Thanks to all of them, it feels like we’re playing in Chennai. Hopefully, we’ll be back in Chennai for the fans.”

The Covid-19 induced break in the season came at the right time for KKR as they could regroup from the dismal start they had to the season. Unfortunately, the likes of KKR spinner Varun Chakravarthy and pacer Sandeep Warrier and SRH’s Wriddhiman Saha and DC’s Amit Mishra were contracted with the Covid-19 virus, which eventually led to the postponement of IPL 2021 in India and the remainder of the league was moved to UAE.

The virus had wreaked havoc in India at that time, claiming thousands of lives. Prasidh Krishna, who has been picked as a standby player for England tour, became the fourth Kolkata Knight Riders player to test positive for Covid-19. KKR wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Seifert was reported to have tested positive for Covid-19 earlier.

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni
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Shaun Pollock Feels CSK Will Retain MS Dhoni As ‘Mentor’ Not As A ‘Player’ In IPL 2022

Shaun Pollock, the former South Africa skipper, has expressed his reservations about Chennai Super Kings (CSK) retaining MS Dhoni as a franchise player ahead of the IPL 2022 auction.

MS Dhoni had said he hadn’t left behind with a wide grin when the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captain was asked if the talismanic batsman is proud to have left a legacy behind in 12 seasons for the newly crowned Indian Premier League (IPL) champions. However, one of the most successful captains in the shortest format of cricket, MS Dhoni, had earlier admitted to the ‘uncertainties’ surrounding the 2022 edition of the cash-rich league.

MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)

Shaun Pollock Feels CSK Will Retain MS Dhoni As A Mentor In Managerial Role

Even after guiding CSK to their fourth IPL crown in the 14th season, MS Dhoni has remained in speculations about calling time on his incredible T20 career. However, when it comes to MS Dhoni’s future, a lot will depend on the retention policy of the BCCI for the mega auction. Former South Africa skipper Shaun Pollock feels CSK will retain MS Dhoni as a mentor for the 15th season of domestic cricket’s biggest extravaganza – the IPL.

Shaun Pollock was the first South African to 400 Test wickets © AFP
Shaun Pollock was the first South African to 400 Test wickets © AFP.

MS Dhoni won CSK to four IPL titles and two Champions League T20 trophies. The 40-year-old is the only captain to have played more than 200 matches as a leader of CSK and Rising Pune Supergiants. IPL 2022 will see a majority of players going under the auction, and each franchise will be able to retain a maximum of three players. Considering the retention policy, which is yet to be announced, MS Dhoni might take over as the team’s mentor.

Shaun Pollock Would Go With Faf du Plessis, Ravindra Jadeja, And Ruturaj Gaikwad As The 3 Retentions

Discussing CSK’s retention strategy for the next season- IPL 2022 with ex-Indian player Ajay Jadeja, the legendary all-rounder, named his top three picks that CSK should retain in the build-up to the mega auction. According to Shaun Pollock, the CSK think tank can invest in star openers Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf Du Plessis, and veteran all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja for the 2022 season.

“You have got to keep Ruturaj Gaikwad. Going forward, I feel he will be absolutely fantastic for them. Jadeja, I would hold on to because he’s been great with the bat and the ball. And I personally don’t think we will see Dhoni, I think he will be retained in a managerial role. I would probably go with Faf, Jadeja, and Gaikwad as the three retentions,” Shaun Pollock said. 

Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad (Image Credit: Twitter)
Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad (Image Credit: Twitter)

This year, Faf du Plessis, Ruturaj Gaikwad, and Ravindra Jadeja were instrumental in CSK’s title-winning season. MS Dhoni-led CSK defeated Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by 27 runs to clinch their fourth IPL title on Friday. All four of CSK’s IPL titles have come under MS Dhoni’s leadership. The 40-year-old has been CSK’s skipper since the inception of the tournament in 2008.

In the IPL 2021, the likes of CSK openers Ruturaj Gaikwad (635 runs) and Faf du Plessis (633 runs) finished as leading run-getters in IPL 2021. Moeen Ali (357 runs), Ambati Rayudu (257 runs) also delivered in crunch situations. Dwayne Bravo (14), Deepak Chahar(14), Ravindra Jadeja(13), Josh Hazlewood(11), and Shardul Thakur(21) were amongst the wickets.

MS Dhoni does not know whether he would represent his franchise Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2022 as there are uncertainties about retention policy and the addition of two new teams. However, after winning the maiden World T20 in 2007 and 2011 ODI World Cup after a hiatus of 28 years to lead Chennai Super Kings to 4 Indian Premier League titles, the list of MS Dhoni’s achievements in white-ball cricket matches doesn’t have an end.

MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
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MS Dhoni Becomes Oldest Skipper At 40 To Win An IPL Trophy

MS Dhoni became the oldest captain to win the Indian Premier League trophy. Chennai Super Kings defeated Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL 2021 final to win their 4th title.

MS Dhoni has achieved another record once again, this time as the oldest captain in the history of the Indian Premier League to win the trophy. At 40, the CSK captain led the team to glory in IPL 2021 and clinched his 4th title as captain in the premier T20 tournament after successful outings in 2010,2011, and 2018.

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni (Image Credit: Twitter)

MS Dhoni Becomes Oldest Skipper At 40 To Win IPL Trophy Ahead Of Shane Warne And Adam Gilchrist

MS Dhoni is also only the 2nd captain in the history of IPL to win more than 3 IPL titles. Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma is on top of the list with as many as 5 titles. CSK hammered KKR, exacting revenge for their defeat in the IPL 2012 final, in the big Dubai final.
Riding on an excellent 85 odd from their senior opening batsman, Faf du Plessis, CSK posted a mammoth total of 192. Despite the fifties from impressive KKR openers Venkatesh Iyer and Shubman Gill, KKR managed just 165 runs in 20 overs, losing the final by 27 runs.
In the IPL 2021, the likes of CSK openers Ruturaj Gaikwad (635 runs) and Faf du Plessis (633 runs) finished as leading run-getters in IPL 2021. Moeen Ali (357 runs), Ambati Rayudu (257 runs) also delivered in crunch situations. Dwayne Bravo (14), Deepak Chahar(14), Ravindra Jadeja(13), Josh Hazlewood(11), and Shardul Thakur(21) were amongst the wickets.
Shane Warne (left) (RR) and MS Dhoni (CSK) - AP
Shane Warne (left) (RR) and MS Dhoni (CSK) – AP

Notably, MS Dhoni has broken Shane Warne’s record as the legendary Australian leg-spinner was aged 39 years when he led Rajasthan Royals to the glory in the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008. Notably, Shane Warne’s men had beaten MS Dhoni’s CSK in a thrilling final in 2008.

Adam Gilchrist won the title as captain for Deccan Chargers next season when he was 37. The former Australia wicketkeeper had led the now-defunct Deccan Chargers to a victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore in the final.

MS Dhoni won his first IPL title when he was 29 as Chennai Super Kings got it tight in their 2nd IPL final in 2010. Dhoni was 38 when he led the Super Kings to their 3rd title in 2018, which was also the comeback season for the Chennai-based franchise, who was suspended from the league for 2 years.

Oldest captain to win the IPL title

MS Dhoni – 40 years in 2021 with CSK

Shane Warne – 39 years in 2008 with RR

Adam Gilchrist – 37 years in 2009 with Deccan Chargers

MS Dhoni promised by insisting that CSK would come back stronger in IPL 2021 after the 4-time champions missed a berth in the play-offs of the last season in the UAE for the first time in their IPL history. CSK completed a dream comeback, winning their 4th title with a near-perfect campaign in the UAE next season to fulfil MS Dhoni’s promise.

CSK Was The First Team To Be Eliminated From Playoffs In IPL 2020 But Was The First Team To Qualify For Playoffs In IPL 2021

Contrary to expectations, CSK did not go for a complete overhaul in IPL 2021 after a horror season, even as their stars were not getting any younger. CSK added a few key players like Moeen Ali by playing it smart once again in the auction. CSK did not have a great start as they lost their opener to Delhi Capitals, but they stormed back with a 6-wicket win over Punjab Kings. CSK never looked back from there as they 5 out of their first 7 matches.

However, when the season was moved to the UAE after it was suspended in May due to the Covid-19 pandemic and bio-bubble breaches, questions were asked whether CSK would be able to put behind their UAE disappointment of IPL 2020 and do well away from home. CSK allayed all those fears and kept their winning momentum intact in the UAE, as from not qualifying for the play-offs in 2020, they became the first team to make the top 4 in 2021.

Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)

MS Dhoni’s men finished inside the top 2  spots in the points table and had that extra opportunity to qualify for the final. They did not need the other as MS Dhoni came up with a vintage finish against Delhi Capitals. In the final,  CSK hardly put a foot wrong as the Dad’s Army showed once again that they are the team to beat in the IPL.

Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings. Image Credits: Twitter
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CSK’s Win In 2018 Was Very Emotional And Lot Of Hard Work Was Behind IPL 2021 Win: Stephen Fleming

CSK-Chennai Super Kings redeemed itself after a dismal performance last year to clinch the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 title but head coach Stephen Fleming still rates the IPL 2018 final win as special and termed it “very emotional”. CSK had now 4 IPL titles besides its name coming in 2010, 2011, 2018, and 2021.

CSK, also known as ‘Dad’s Army’, lifted their fourth IPL title on Friday after defeating Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the final by 27 runs. Stephen Fleming said he is very proud to have won the IPL 2021 final since many pundits had written off CSK due to the absence of young blood in the side.

Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)
Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)

CSK’s Win In 2018 Was Very Emotional: Stephen Fleming

The likes of Shane Watson (555 runs), Ambati Rayudu (602 runs), Suresh Raina (440 runs), MS Dhoni (455 runs) were unstoppable as CSK won the IPL 2018 after a gap of 7 years. Dwayne Bravo (14 scalps), Shardul Thakur (16 scalps), Lungi Ngidi and Ravindra Jadeja (11 scalps each), and Harbhajan Singh (7 scalps ) did well with the ball in IPL 2018.

“It’s very hard to rate them, they (IPL wins) all are specials as they are results of our hard work. I think the one coming back in 2018 was very emotional but there is a lot of hard work in this one too,” Fleming said during the post-match press conference.

Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo, CSK, Image Source: The Cricket Times
Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo, CSK, Image Source: The Cricket Times

“If you look back when we were called Dad’s Army in the first year (2018), I think a lot of people had no hope from us to maintain the competitiveness during this cycle.There is a satisfaction around and a lot of pride over what players have achieved. There was a challenge with the aging side and I am very proud of what CSK have done and how they have played,” he added.

The likes of Imran Tahir(42 years), MS Dhoni (40 years), Dwayne Bravo(38 years), Faf du Plessis (37 years), Ambati Rayudu (36 years), Robin Uthappa (35 years), Suresh Raina, and Moeen Ali (34 years) are in their fag end of careers and some of them have even quit international cricket.
The four-time champions’ 2020 campaign was disastrous as they could not reach the playoffs for the first time in IPL history. They finished seventh in the rankings and MS Dhoni’s captaincy reign came under question.

CSK’s Head Coach Stephen Fleming Don’t Know Whether It Was An End Of An Era

For IPL 2022, two new teams are set to come in, and it needs to be seen how many players a franchise is allowed to retain before the mega auction. Stephen Fleming knows it will be difficult to retain most CSK players and he is looking forward to seeing how things pan out ahead of the IPL 2022.

“We don’t know (on being asked if this was an end of an era). But we know that whenever we get to the end of the cycle we know that we cannot get some players back,” said Fleming.

Stephen Fleming Image Source : IPLT20.COM
Stephen Fleming Image Source: IPLT20.COM

“CSK always had a system where we maintain players and keep them with you for a long period of time and get the best out of them. It will be interesting to see how things pan out in the next few months. Most teams will have a change in them and we will be one of them,” he added. 

In the IPL 2021, the likes of CSK openers Ruturaj Gaikwad (635 runs) and Faf du Plessis (633 runs) stood apart from the rest of CSK’s batsmen and delivered when it was needed. They finished as leading run-getters in IPL 2021. Moeen Ali (357 runs), Ambati Rayudu (257 runs) also delivered in crunch situations. Dwayne Bravo (14), Deepak Chahar(14), Ravindra Jadeja(13), Josh Hazlewood(11), and Shardul Thakur(21) were amongst the wickets.

Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)
Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)
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It’s A Challenge For Aging Side CSK To Maintain Standards: Stephen Fleming

Stephen Fleming, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) head coach, poured praise down on his side CSK for maintaining consistency despite highly contrasting beliefs. Stephen Fleming was a proud man after the yellow brigade clinched their fourth IPL title by beating Kolkata Knight Riders in Dubai on Friday 15th October in IPL 2021 final.

While CSK had one of the most experienced squads, their abilities came under scrutiny due to their high age factor. 40-year-old skipper MS Dhoni himself has seen his powers wane since IPL 2020 as he failed to average more than 25 in the last two seasons while 34-year-old Suresh Raina has looked vulnerable and was dropped for the last few games of IPL 2021. However, they defied everything by turning the tables to beat Kolkata by 27 runs in the decider.

Stephen Fleming Pleased With CSK Winning 4th IPL Trophy

Stephen Fleming hailed the CSK squad as “special” and recognized the hard work put in by them while speaking at a post-match press conference, Stephen Fleming was aware of the “dad’s army” tag and the lack of expectations from them to do as well as they did. He was pleased with the aging side’s accomplishments and deemed them special.

“It’s very hard to reign them and I also think they’re special as they work hard and the results are because of the hard work. I think the win in 2018, coming back was very emotional. There is a lot of hard work in this one and we were called the dad’s army in the first year and I don’t think a lot of people had any hopes for us to maintain the competitiveness during this cycle and another year added, so we were pretty much written off.”

Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni (Photo Source: Twitter)
Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni (Photo Source: Twitter)

“So, there is little bit of jubilation around there and a lot of pride what the players have been able to achieve and maintain the standards over a number of months. It’s a challenge for the aging side. I’m really proud of what they did, the way they played and it was very special, trust me.”

The likes of Imran Tahir(42 years), MS Dhoni (40 years), Dwayne Bravo(38 years), Faf du Plessis (37 years), Ambati Rayudu (36 years), Robin Uthappa (35 years), Suresh Raina, and Moeen Ali (34 years) are in their fag end of careers and some of them have even quit international cricket.
The four-time champions’ 2020 campaign was disastrous as they could not reach the playoffs for the first time in IPL history. They finished seventh in the rankings and MS Dhoni’s captaincy reign came under question.
CSK, who posted 192/3 on the board in the IPL 2021 final on the back of Faf du Plessis’ brilliant 86, restricted KKR to 165/9 and sealed a 27-run win. KKR’s openers Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer scored the 50s but after they were dismissed, middle-order was exposed.

Stephen Fleming Feels It’s Too Early To Comment On CSK’s Team Combinations In IPL 2022 Mega Auctions

Stephen Fleming admitted that there were some emotions during the final IPL 2021 match when he was asked whether this might be the ‘end of an era’. The 48-year-old highlighted the Chennai Super Kings’ system of developing players and feels it’s quite early to comment on the make-up of the squad before the IPL 2022 mega auctions.

Stephen Fleming added: “Well, maybe. I don’t know and there were emotions around. It might be an end of an era as you might not get some players back. There is some emotion around this last game, so when you win it, it’s a celebration but also a recognition of what the players have put in.”

Stephen Fleming Image Source : IPLT20.COM
Stephen Fleming Image Source : IPLT20.COM

“Chennai has always had a system or a belief that if you can maintain players, keep them with you for a long time, you can get the best out of them. And yes, there are players who have been with us for a long time. It’ll be interesting to see over the next few months how it pans out. Most teams are probably going to go for a change and we could be one. But how that looks like it’s too early to tell.”

The mega auction before the 15th edition of the IPL allows the franchises to retain only two Indian players. With MS Dhoni likely to play next season, CSK’s probability of retaining him is high.
Brief Scores: Chennai Super Kings 192/3 (Faf du Plessis 86, Moeen Ali 37*; Sunil Narine 2/26) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 165/9 (Shubman Gill 51, Venkatesh Iyer 50; Shardul Thakur 3/38) by 27 runs.
Dale Steyn
Dale Steyn
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MS Dhoni Is The Poster Boy For Being Cool, Calm, And Collective As A Captain: Dale Steyn

Dale Steyn, the former South Africa bowler, noted that CSK keeper-batsman MS Dhoni’s prowess in captaincy makes up for his misfortune with the bat in his twilight years. The former Indian skipper MS Dhoni has led the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to their ninth IPL final in 12 attempts, and his team is on the lookout to win his fourth IPL title.

Dale Steyn noted that when captains don’t perform, it usually rubs off on the team. But in this instance, it has not been the same since both CSK, and the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have made it to the final. KKR skipper Eoin Morgan has also endured a torrid time with the bat this season. Dale Steyn also termed MS Dhoni the ‘poster boy’ when it comes to keeping his cool while donning the captain’s role.

Dale Steyn
Dale Steyn Photograph:Christiaan Kotze/AFP/Getty Images.

Dale Steyn hails MS Dhoni as a skipper:

Both MS Dhoni and Eoin Morgan are currently in the midst of their worst IPL forms ever. MS Dhoni has come out to bat 11 times this season, scoring only 114 runs averaging 16.2 at a strike rate of 106.54. Eoin Morgan, meanwhile, has batted in 15 IPL 2021 innings so far. He has mustered only 129 runs at an average of 11.73 and a strike rate of 98.47. In addition, he has scored just once in double digits since the tournament shifted to the UAE.

“It boils down to the last game, who can handle pressure the most and MS just looks like the guy that has done it so many times. Morgan is catching up, winning the world cup and having done well with the England team and all but MS Dhoni is the poster boy for cool, calm and collective when it comes to captaincy. Even if he has not scored runs,” said Dale Steyn.

MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)

MS Dhoni has achieved it all when it comes to the captaincy in the international arena as well as franchise cricket. On the other hand, Eoin Morgan will be looking to win the IPL and then lead England to glory in the upcoming T20 World Cup as well.

Dale Steyn: Both The Finalists’ Skippers Haven’t Been In Form But It Hasn’t Bothered The Two Franchises

With Eoin Morgan and MS Dhoni struggling with the bat, Dale Steyn outlined how pressure might be the difference-maker considering the one-off clash remaining in the final. The England skipper has only contributed 129 runs, while MS Dhoni has accounted for just 114 runs with the bat this season.

Steyn added: “Both of these teams have made the finals and both the captains have not done well at all. But it might boil down to pressure. Leading upto the tournament, everyone contributed where they can, but this is one game and that might be the problem. So far, it has not bothered both sides, they made it to the finals without the captain scoring runs,” Steyn explained.

KKR captain Eoin Morgan Twitter/@KKRiders
KKR captain Eoin Morgan- Twitter/@KKRiders

CSK have been successful in three of their eight IPL finals so far. Meanwhile, KKR has a 100 per cent record when it comes to finals, with their first crown coming with a win over CSK back in 2012. The two sides will face off for the 2021 IPL trophy at the Dubai International Stadium later tonight (October 15).

Eoin Morgan led England to victory in the 2019 50-over World Cup. MS Dhoni masterminded India’s wins. He was India’s captain when they won the Twenty20 World Cup in 2007 and the 2011 50-over title. But neither has been a big run-scorer in this year’s pandemic-hit tournament.

MS Dhoni (Image Credit: Twitter)
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MS Dhoni May Be ‘Retained’ As A Mentor By CSK Ahead Of IPL 2022 Mega Auctions: Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra, former Indian opener, and commentator on Thursday (October 14), made an interesting prediction about CSK skipper MS Dhoni ahead of the IPL 2021 Final. Aakash Chopra is of the opinion that MS Dhoni will be retained by Chennai ahead of the mega auctions but not as one would expect.

MS Dhoni showed his match-winning abilities in crunch situations as his 6 ball cameo of 18 runs, including 3 fours and 1 six. CSK was in a spot of bother at 149/5, and then 160/6, and MS Dhoni contributed when it mattered most.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra: MS Dhoni Is Going To Be Retained By CSK, But He Might Be In The IPL 2022 As A Mentor, Not As A Player

MS Dhoni will next be seen in action on the field on 15th October 2021 during the summit clash of IPL 2021 against a resurgent Kolkata Knight Riders. The 2021 IPL final will be played at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

“Dhoni is going to retain CSK for sure. Now in what capacity it’s up to him. It’s never been a transactional kind of relationship between the two. MSD is equal to CSK, so if he has a season in him, which is only six months away, and if he has the desire to play as he will play,” Aakash Chopra said.

“But I`m sure he`s also mindful of the fact that next year’s big auction, a lot of money is being parked on one player for the next three seasons. If that’s going to happen then you`re going to hamper the chances of creating a good team at a big auction. So if that plays out the way I think it is, MS might be there as a mentor and not as a player,” Aakash Chopra said.

MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)

The 44-year-old feels that some things have gone Chennai Super Kings way, which led to them being exceeding expectations. He also said that Chennai went from strength to strength as they did well in their matches in Mumbai. Chennai is now in their ninth IPL final and will try to bag the trophy for the fourth time against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Friday in Dubai.

“Well, few things have gone their way and they have exceeded expectations, because in the first leg when they were playing in Wankhede stadium and I thought they didn’t have the side to conquer that frontier. They were extraordinary there and they have gone from strength to strength,” Aakash Chopra said.

Commenting on the players who have done well for Chennai, Aakash Chopra said, “Because the middle order hasn’t fired, so the opening partnership of Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf Du Plessis has.”

“Moeen Ali in the first half of the tournament with the bat, Ravindra Jadeja`s resurgence as a T20 finisher – he did finish a couple of games on his own. Also, a lot of factors have also contributed. Lord Shardul, let`s not forget him, if they have the Lord on their side, then the light of the Lord is with them,” Aakash Chopra said.

The major reason for CSK’s success in IPL 2021 is the resounding start given by Ruturaj Gaikwad (603 runs) and Faf du Plessis (547 runs). The pair have complemented each other throughout the tournament and have been the most impressive opening partnership in the tournament, by far. Moreover, the bowlers, especially Shardul Thakur, have been clinching wickets at crucial times.

The middle-order batsmen’s form also poses a big headache for CSK despite Robin Uthappa soothing the concerns with a half-century and MS Dhoni finishing off the match with a quick cameo. If the openers don’t get a good start, then Chennai is in trouble with the bat. If the dew sets in with the ball, their bowling attack comprised of Deepak Chahar, Josh Hazlewood, and Dwayne Bravo, among others, gets nullified and becomes toothless.

Ajit Agarkar: At The Start Of IPL, CSK Decided To Build A Team Around MS Dhoni

Former India pacer Ajit Agarkar mentioned the Indian core of Chennai as a reason for them being a strong franchise in the tournament.

“So, what they did was, at the start of the IPL, they decided to build the team around MS Dhoni and obviously got the Indian guys like Suresh Raina and M Vijay at the start.”

Ajit Agarkar Photo: AFP
Ajit Agarkar Photo: AFP

“So, the nucleus was there of the Indian players, then it becomes a lot easier to get your overseas guys. And then they kept on adding one or two players, and that’s why they have been such a good time for so long, but it is time, they will have to make changes,” concluded Agarkar.

MS Dhoni scored exactly 200 runs in IPL 2020, averaging a below-par 25 while managing only 114 runs in IPL 2021 in 15 games averaging a dismal 16.28. His strike rate is also below 120 both times and below 110 this season.

CSK Predicted XI: Faf du Plessis, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Robin Uthappa, Moeen Ali, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar & Josh Hazlewood. 

KKR Predicted XI: Shubman Gill, Venkatesh Iyer, Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan (C), Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Sunil Narine, Lockie Ferguson, Varun Chakravarthy & Shivam Mavi

Gautam Gambhir AFP
Gautam Gambhir AFP
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Comparing Their Forms Is Very Wrong: Gautam Gambhir On MS Dhoni And Eoin Morgan

Gautam Gambhir believes it’s unfair to compare the batting forms of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper, MS Dhoni, with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) captain Eoin Morgan because the two are at different stages of their respective international careers.

The former Indian opener on Thursday argued that MS Dhoni, despite retiring from international cricket in August 2020, has still performed better than Eoin Morgan, who is the current captain of England’s ODI and T20I teams.

Gautam Gambhir. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
Gautam Gambhir. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Gautam Gambhir: Comparing Eoin Morgan And MS Dhoni’s Forms Is Wrong

Two-time IPL 2021 winning skipper for KKR, Gautam Gambhir’s observations came during a video interaction ahead of the IPL 2021 final between CSK and KKR. The former KKR skipper was asked to analyze the lacklustre forms of the two World Cup-winning captains regarding the contrasting success of their teams.

Gautam Gambhir replied: “Comparing their forms is very wrong in itself because MS Dhoni has retired from international cricket and the second player is the captain of his national team. You should not compare apples with oranges.”

“MS Dhoni hasn’t played international cricket for so long and it’s acceptable if he’s not in form or is contributing less. But on the other hand, Morgan is playing international cricket. Still, if you look at their performances, MS Dhoni has performed better than Morgan even with the bat.”

MS Dhoni Of CSK With Eoin Morgan Of KKR (Sportzpics/IPL)
MS Dhoni Of CSK With Eoin Morgan Of KKR (Sportzpics/IPL)

Gautam Gambhir added:“Moreover, MS Dhoni also keeps wickets and captains so there  are three departments. Morgan has only two things – captaincy and batting, where one has been totally bad. So, it’s not fair to compare MS and Morgan’s form.”

Both MS Dhoni and Eoin Morgan are currently in the midst of their worst IPL forms ever. MS Dhoni has come out to bat 11 times this season, scoring only 114 runs averaging 16.2 at a strike rate of 106.54. His best knock came against Delhi Capitals (DC) in Qualifier 1, where a cameo of 18 off six deliveries helped CSK win the match. MS Dhoni has led CSK to title wins in 2010, 2011, and 2018 besides appearing in numerous playoffs.

Eoin Morgan, meanwhile, has batted in 15 IPL 2021 innings so far. He has mustered only 129 runs at an average of 11.73 and a strike rate of 98.47. He played a couple of decent knocks in India’s first half of IPL 2021, including a top score of 47*, but he has scored just once in double digits since the tournament shifted to the UAE.

Gautam Gambhir Hopes KKR Wins And Gets Equal Recognition To CSK

Gautam Gambhir also expressed hope that his former franchise would win the final IPL 2021 match and equal CSL’s record of three IPL titles. He feels a win in the final game on the 15th instant would make KKR as successful as CSK and should also bring similar recognition.

Gautam Gambhir concluded by saying: “Absolutely. We always talk about Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings and their match is called El Clásico, why? Just because CSK has won the IPL thrice? KKR has also won it twice. If KKR wins this final, it will perhaps become equally successful to CSK.”

Kolkata Knight Riders (Image Credit: Twitter)
Kolkata Knight Riders (Image Credit: Twitter)

“Then you’ll have to keep KKR on the same pedestal as CSK. When we say Mumbai Indians and CSK are the most successful sides, it’s only because CSK has won one more title than KKR. I hope KKR wins the trophy, both become equal at three trophies and KKR gets equal recognition to CSK.”

The final will kick off at 7:30 PM IST in Dubai. Eoin Morgan led England to victory in the 2019 50-over World Cup. MS Dhoni masterminded India’s wins. He was India’s captain when they won the Twenty20 World Cup in 2007 and the 2011 50-over title. But neither has been a big run-scorer in this year’s pandemic-hit tournament.
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