MS Dhoni has been in news despite not playing for India since the semi-final of the ICC World Cup 2019, in order to give Rishabh Pant a long run behind the stumps in limited-overs cricket. He has not been seen on the cricket field in any capacity since then.
However, there is good news for his and Chennai Super Kings’ fans as the IPL 2020 will not be Dhoni’s last foray in IPL cricket. As per well-placed sources, the former India captain has told his franchise owners that he will play the 2021 edition of the IPL as well.
"There will be a big auction before the 2021 IPL and Dhoni has already told us that he will play the tournament. So there's no question of his retirement from the T20 version anytime soon," a CSK source told TOI.
Dhoni has even told the franchise owners to not retain him in the big auction of IPL 2021 and save the 15 crore INR that were spent on retaining him when CSK returned to the fold in IPL 2018. Instead, he wants to go back into the pool and then CSK might use the right-to-match card and buy him at a lower price.
"He wants to go back to the auction pool for the big auction that will take place ahead of the 2021 season. That will give CSK the option of using the Right-to-Match card to pick him, maybe for a lower price. Being the captain, he is, Dhoni is ready to sacrifice money for the CSK cause," the source added.
"We know what Dhoni means to us. We may not let him go back to the auction pool," the CSK management has told their captain.
Meanwhile, Dhoni was seen getting back into cricket shape by having a few hits lately in nets. "There has been a perception that the Indian team management doesn't know what Dhoni is doing, but it may not be completely true. If he has a good IPL, he will very much be part of India's scheme of things in the T20 World Cup in December," the source added.
This means Dhoni is focused on rebuilding the CSK team after the IPL 2020, which might be the last for many of the franchise’s senior players, who were retained ahead of this year’s auction. Dhoni will oversee the rebuilding process and play the first year with the new team to give it stability.
"It will be after the 2021 IPL that the question of retirement will come, if at all...And even if he retires, Dhoni will always be the mentor of CSK," the source added.
(Times of India inputs)