Deepak Chahar hints MS Dhoni could play longer in IPL

There have been indications that the legendary Chennai Super Kings skipper could be in for a farewell game at the close of the IPL 2023. But Chahar says otherwise. 
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Amidst a great sense of anticipation that the forthcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is a farewell assignment for the legendary MS Dhoni, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) seamer Deepak Chahar hinted there is a possibility that the great skipper and wicketkeeper-batter could prolong his career in the yellow jersey. 

Dhoni, CSK's ageing warrior at the helm, had suggested he could be in for a perfect farewell with the IPL 2023, potentially playing his final game in front of the passionate Chepauk crowd. The 40-year-old had announced his retirement from international cricket in August 2020, the year when during the IPL playoffs in UAE, he had said he is "definitely not" playing his final season of the league. 

The legend took CSK to the trophy in IPL 2021 and regained the captaincy mantle the following season after initially handing over the reins to premier allrounder Ravindra Jadeja, which was taken for a factor behind the side's struggles but also as the biggest indicator of MS Dhoni preparing to move on from CSK soon. 

How soon? Well, the team's regular pacer Chahar has suggested that the IPL 2023 may still not be the farewell assignment for Dhoni, who, he believes, is capable enough of leading CSK in the future as well, playing only the IPL in his calendar these days. 

Is IPL 2023 the last for MS Dhoni? Deepak Chahar says nah

Over the past three editions of the IPL, Dhoni has faced issues with lack of regular cricket and endured a major decline in his powerhitting skills down the order. Since the start of IPL 2020, he has a strike rate of just 116.21 and averages a measly 24.81 across 44 outings. 

Even though the legend remains pivotal with his captaincy and keeping skills, his batting no longer retains a spot for him in a side that banks on maximising each position in their batting unit to cover for the holes in their bowling unit. Chahar, however, disagrees. 

"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," he 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," he added. 

Dhoni will be captaining CSK into the 16th edition of the IPL, where the four-time champions kick-off their campaign on the opening day (March 31) versus trophy holders Gujarat Titans (GT).