The 2023 Indian Premier League begins on March 31 with defending champions Gujarat Titans taking on the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings in Ahmedabad. A host of CSK players including Dhoni began practice for the new season earlier this month at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai; the side will make a return to its home stadium in the 2023 edition. In videos shared by Chennai Super Kings on their official social media platforms, Dhoni can be seen smashing big hits in the practice sessions.
There have been speculations that the 2023 IPL could be Dhoni’s last season as a player for CSK. Ahead of the side’s final group game of the season in the 2022 edition, Dhoni had hinted the same; he stated that he will return next season to personally convey his gratitude to fans across India, as the Indian Premier League will be played across 12 different cities in 2023.
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“Definitely,” Dhoni had said when he was asked about his participation in IPL 2023. “It’s a simple reason: it will be unfair to not play in Chennai and say thank you [to the fans]. Mumbai is one place where, as a team and as an individual, I have got a lot of love and affection. But it wouldn’t be nice to the CSK fans.
“And also, hopefully next year there will be an opportunity where the teams will be travelling so it will be a like thank you to all the different places where we will be playing games at different venues. Whether it will be my last year or not that’s a big question, because you know we can’t really predict about something two years down the line. But definitely I’ll be working hard to come back strong next year,” he had added.
Days before the start of the season, CSK star Deepak Chahar, who is set to make a comeback to cricketing action after a long injury layoff, provided a major update on Dhoni’s CSK future. While Chahar stated that there is no confirmation on whether this is indeed the CSK skipper’s final IPL season, he hopes Dhoni will continue to lead the Super Kings next year as well.
The reporter had begun his question with a suggestion that Dhoni will be making his final appearance in the IPL. “MS Dhoni will play in his last IPL. You saw him practice. How is his batting going on?” the reporter asked.
“No one has said that this would be his final year. At least, he hasn’t. Hopefully, he will play more. We don’t know any such thing, we want him to play as much as he can,” Chahar told News India Sports.
“He knows when to retire, we saw it when he did in Tests and international cricket. No one else knows. I just hope he continues to play, it’s a privilege to play under him. It has been a dream to play with him. He’s in good touch as well, you will see that when he bats in the IPL this year,” Chahar further said.