MS Dhoni is set to lead in what is all but certain to be his last IPL season. The Chennai Super Kings will kick-start their IPL 2023 campaign on March 31 in the tournament opener against Gujarat Titans on Friday at the Narendra Modi stadium in Ahmedabad.
CSK finished 9th in IPL 2022, a season marred with the Ravindra Jadeja controversy. Dhoni took the captaincy back after the team’s poor performance under Jadeja, who himself struggled for runs last season.
Now, with MS Dhoni back at the helm, and what is likely to be his last IPL season as CSK’s captain and player, the fans are wishing to give Thala a farewell, hopefully with another IPL trophy that would bring them level with Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians.
MS Dhoni himself is in line to break and create some individual records. One major record that MS Dhoni is likely to get this season is to enter the list of the few batters with 5000 IPL runs.
MS Dhoni eyes 5000 IPL runs
So far in his IPL career, MS Dhoni has amassed 4978 runs in 234 matches (206 innings) at an average of 39 and strike rate of 135, cracking 24 fifties. Even though Dhoni is set to bat lower down the order, he is likely to score the remaining 22 runs this season to join the 5000 runs club in the IPL. Only 6 other batters have so far crossed the 5000-run milestone in the IPL, and only one – Suresh Raina – is from CSK in this list.
At the top of the list is Virat Kohli, the leading IPL run-scorer with 662 runs, followed by Shikhar Dhawan (6244), David Warner (5881), Rohit Sharma (5879), Suresh Raina (5528), and AB de Villiers (5162), and MS Dhoni (4978).
MS Dhoni hasn’t had the best of the times with the bat in the IPL in recent years. In the last three IPL seasons, the CSK skipper has managed 546 runs at an average of 24 with a strike rate of 116 with one half-century in 36 innings.
Is MS Dhoni injured?
About 24 hours before the first match of IPL 2023 between CSK and GT, The Indian Express reported that MS Dhoni is “struggling with a niggle in his left knee”.
“It is understood that he is still feeling some discomfort and doesn’t want to push too much as the team is short on wicketkeeping options.
“Although Dhoni came for the practice session on the eve of the match at the Narendra Modi Stadium, he didn’t bat in the nets on Thursday,” the report said.
According to those in the know of this latest development, a call on MS Dhoni’s fitness for the match will be take on Friday, but, the report added, “chances of his inclusion remain bleak”.
If MS Dhoni misses this game, then the captaincy options CSK have are Ben Stokes, Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen Ali, and Ruturaj Gaikwad.
CSK squad for IPL 2023:
MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Mooen Ali, Bhagath Varma, Deepak Chahar, Devon Conway (wk), Tushar Deshpande, Shivam Dube, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Ravindra Jadeja, Sisanda Magala, Ajay Mandal, Mukesh Choudhary, Matheesha Pathirana, Dwaine Pretorius, Ajinkya Rahane, Shaik Rasheed, Ambati Rayudu, Mitchell Santner, Subhranshu Senapati, Simarjeet Singh, Nishant Sindhu, Prashant Solanki, Ben Stokes, Maheesh Theekshana