'If he's not the captain, he won't even play as Impact Player' - Sehwag on MS Dhoni's future

The legend's ex India teammate made a blunt remark on his future and also shed light on the 'Impact Player' rule potentially allowing him to continue playing for CSK. 
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Even though all signs suggest the IPL 2023 final to be MS Dhoni's last outing in competitive cricket, the legend's fans and ex teammates stand upbeat about the future of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper in playing capacity. 

Former CSK allrounder and bowling coach, Dwayne Bravo, had expressed optimism on Dhoni continuing to play in IPL 2024 by pointing towards the 'Impact Player' rule. In an interaction with Star Sports, Bravo said with the tactical substitution allowing teams to bring in adequate replacements for match-ups, CSK captain can take the field and don the captaincy hat without having to bat for the four-time champions. 

But ex India teammate Virender Sehwag put this idea to the scanner and insisted MS Dhoni is unlikely to go down the route of 'Impact Player' substitution to prolong his stint with the Chennai franchise. 

Sehwag said Dhoni's individual workload as a batter may allow him to stay put on the park but it is highly unlikely he will use the substitution as he has to captain and be in the field for 20 overs. Notably, the player replaced by the 'Impact Player' choice can take no further part in the contest. 

Sehwag opens up on MS Dhoni's future 

Speaking on Cricbuzz, Sehwag said if CSK are to continue being a side largely independent of MS Dhoni the powerhitter and he remains confined to playing mostly the last two overs of the innings, the legendary skipper could be seen plying his trade even in the next season for his team. 

However, the 'Impact Player' route, which Bravo suggested, is not open for Dhoni since he has to wear the gloves and captain the side for 20 overs, bringing his excellent leadership qualities and tactical acumen to the fore. 

"It's not difficult (to play cricket in 40s), if you're fit. MS Dhoni hasn't batted too much this year. He's not aggravating his knee injury. Often, he would come in the last two overs. If I count the total balls he faced, I think he would've faced 40-50 deliveries this season," Sehwag told Cricbuzz. 

"Impact Player rule doesn't apply on MS Dhoni. Because he's playing only for captaincy. He has to stay in the ground for captaincy. Impact Player rule is for someone who doesn't field but bats, or a bowler who doesn't need to bat."

"Dhoni has to field 20 overs; if he's not the captain, he won't even play as Impact Player. Then, you will see him as mentor or coach or Director of Cricket," he added. 

Also Read - CSK star announces shock retirement after tonight's IPL 2023 final

Throughout the season, Dhoni has held a sporadic presence in the middle with bat in hand, facing just 56 balls over 11 innings in 15 matches to make 104 runs, including 10 sixes, to ensure CSK aren't losing out on runs at his end. 

As the franchise did last season when Dhoni had to regularly come up and use his declining spin-handling abilities to keep the scoreboard moving. The 41-year-old faced 188 balls over 14 innings of IPL 2022 to make 232 runs at a costly strike-rate of just 123.40.