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MS Dhoni incredibly fit bloke, probably surprised himself with his batting in IPL 2022: Ravi Shastri


Former India head coach Ravi Shastri said MS Dhoni returning to play Indian Premier League in 2023 is good news for Chennai Super Kings, adding that ‘an incredibly fit’ player like him should not have any problems easing into the scheme of things next year.

Putting an end to speculation, MS Dhoni confirmed on Friday, ahead of CSK’s last match of the season in Mumbai, that he will be returning to play the IPL 2023 so that he can say ‘thank you’ to the franchise’s fans in Chennai and hopefully across 10 venues if the IPL goes back to the home-away format.

Dhoni promised to work hard to make a strong comeback for CSK in IPL 2023.

Speculation was rife about Dhoni’s IPL future as the CSK captain had given up the role and handed over the baton to Ravindra Jadeja at the start of the season. Dhoni returned as CSK captain midway through the season after Jadeja quit from the role following a poor start to CSK’s title defence.

But Dhoni’s confirmation on Friday, May 20 put an end to all the rumours.

“There is no question about that. It’s good that they have made the announcement now, it cuts all the speculation, all the drama that goes behind it. He has one of the best leaders the country has ever produced, especially in white-ball cricket. The announcement must be heartening for the CSK fans more than anything else,” Shastri told ESPNCricinfo.

“He is not (any ordinary player). He will be up in the mountains with his regiment. He will take a break for 2-3 months. He will come and play some cricket. He will then have one big over and he will get going.”

Furthermore, the World Cup-winning former all-rounder said Dhoni seemed to enjoy his cricket a lot more in IPL 2021 and struck the ball cleaner than the last few seasons.

Dhoni, 40, showed glimpses of return to good form with the bat, scoring 232 runs in 14 matches at an average of over 30. However, CSK were not able to make the playoffs as they managed just 4 wins from 14 league games.

‘SENSE OF ENJOYMENT IS BACK’

“He was definitely better than last year, much more fluent. His fluency is back, there is a sense of purpose. He keeps striking it over the top, he has had no problems with power. He is an unbelievably fit bloke,” Shastri added.

“When you see the amount he trains, he is not someone who keeps running around the ground and picks up weights in the gym, he is someone who plays other sport. He likes to do things outdoor to keep his fitness going, play badminton or any other sport.

“Fitness is his key. But I think he has enjoyed his cricket this season, more than anything else, The way he has batted, the way he has kept. That sense of enjoyment has come back. He has come back and probably surprised himself with the way he has batted.”

Dhoni, who retired from international cricket in 2020, has a big challenge as the superstar cricket needs to be match-ready without competitive action under his belt in the IPL next year.



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