In knee-caps! Concerns on MS Dhoni's fitness for GT vs CSK IPL 2023 opening clash?
Even as reports did the rounds about his unavailability for the opening game of the 2023 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), MS Dhoni was seen going through the drills for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at practice on the eve of their clash with Gujarat Titans (GT) scheduled on Friday (March 31).
The legendary skipper had an injury cloud hovering over him, with news coming to light that he maybe dealing with a knee issue prior to the encounter against the defending champions in Ahmedabad.
Those concerns were partly confirmed by the man himself as he came out for practice with a knee-cap to ensure he could smoothly undergo wicketkeeping drills. Sportstar reported, Dhoni attended this net session after taking "painkiller injections" to keep his body warm and bear the physical strain on his legs.
CSK aren't short on wicketkeeping options, of course, in presence of Devon Conway, Ambati Rayudu and even Ruturaj Gaikwad, all capable of providing stand-in duties. But they don't wish for that scenario to play itself out considering Dhoni's excellent captaincy skills and laser-sharp cricketing eye behind the stumps.
Dhoni injury before IPL 2023 opener 'no concern' - CSK
It would relieve a lot of passionate CSK fans that the ownership and the team management are confident of MS Dhoni copping up well for the Titans clash. One CSK official conditioned to anonymity said, "there is no need for concern", even though the 41-year-old "appeared stiff", reported Sportstar, "throughout the near-five-hour session at Chepauk" held on Monday.
"He was watchful as he warmed up with a stiff knee for his turn to bat. After putting on his gear, the former India captain spent about five minutes pressing his leg towards the ground to assess the condition of his knee. Dhoni was sporting a kneecap as he walked out to bat."
The CSK CEO also apparently confirmed to ESPNCricinfo that Dhoni was fit for the opening clash.
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Over time, CSK have come to be a near-independent side of Dhoni's batting, which has been on the downslide ever since his retirement from international cricket back in August 2020.
Captaincy and wicketkeeping, however, remain in the pink of health with the legend as CSK require him to marshal up their resources while they strive to overcome a disastrous seventh-place finish last season and revive their fortunes with a fifth IPL trophy.