IPL 2023: “His knee has not been 100 per cent,” Hussey explains why Dhoni likes to bat lower down the order

Dhoni has scored 99 runs from nine innings at a remarkable strike rate of 196 this season.

MS Dhoni | BCCI-IPLHe might be at the twilight of his career, but Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper MS Dhoni has impressed one and all with his exploits in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) season.

Dhoni has scored 99 runs from nine innings at a remarkable strike rate of 196. He has faced only 50 balls while batting in the lower order, hitting 10 sixes and 3 fours.

Notably, Dhoni has been carrying a knee injury that he sustained during the training camp in the lead-up to IPL 2023. In many of the CSK games, he has shown signs of discomfort while running between the wickets.

On the eve of CSK’s last league match against Delhi Capitals, batting coach Mike Hussey revealed that Dhoni doesn’t want to strain his dodgy knee by running between the wickets and thus bats down the order to provide the final flourish.

“I think it’s pretty clear that he likes to come in the last few overs, that’s his plan,” Hussey said ahead of CSK’s last league match against Delhi Capitals here on Saturday.

“It’s been well documented that his knee has not been a 100 per cent and he’s trying to get through the matches as best as he can throughout the tournament. So I think, he doesn’t want to come in the 10th, 11th or 12th over and have to run those quick doubles all the time, that’s going to put pressure on the knee.”

“He’s trying to delay coming in as long as possible and having that impact late in the innings. He shows a lot of backing and faith in the likes of (Shivam) Dube, (Ravindra) Jadeja, (Ajinkya) Rahane and (Ambati) Rayudu to do the job before he comes in.”

Speculations are rife that MS Dhoni will bring down the curtains on his professional cricket career with the conclusion of IPL 2023.

Amid the speculations, Dhoni has been receiving rousing reception from the fans every time he steps on the field. Be it the Chepauk, Chinnaswamy, Eden Gardens or Wankhede, the chants of 'Dhoni Dhoni' have echoed in the stadiums.

“The support we have got is incredibly everywhere, it has blown us away. MS is a legend of the game. It’s not everyday you get to play in such an atmosphere, the guys have enjoyed it and in a way it does raise your game,” Hussey stated.

As far as Dhoni’s retirement from IPL is concerned, Hussey feels the veteran wicketkeeper can continue playing for the next five years.

“He’s still batting very well, is still motivated to coming into training and working on his game and hitting the ball well. We’ve seen he comes late in the innings and finishes things well.

“He’s still got the six-hitting ability, while he’s enjoying it and is contributing to the team then there is no reason why he can’t keep going for maybe another five years.”

(With PTI Inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 20 May, 2023

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