Beginning on March 31 in Ahmedabad, the 2023 Indian T20 League (ITL) will kick off with a match between the reigning champions Gujarat and the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai. Several players, including Dhoni, started practising for the upcoming season earlier this month in the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. The team will again play in its home stadium in the 2023 season. Dhoni can be seen making tremendous hits in practice in videos posted by Chennai on their official social media channels.
There have been rumours that Dhoni’s final season playing for Chennai may be the 2023 ITL. Dhoni had made a similar suggestion before the team’s final group match of the season in the 2022 version; he said he would return the following year to personally thank fans across India because the 2023 edition of the Indian T20 League will be contested in 12 different locations.
“Definitely,” Dhoni had said when asked about his participation in ITL 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 I have a lot of love and affection as a team and as an individual. But it wouldn’t be nice to the 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.
‘He knows when to retire’ – Deepak Chahar
Days before the season began, Chennai star Deepak Chahar gave a significant update on Dhoni’s future with the team. Chahar expressed his optimism that Dhoni will continue to serve as their captain even though there is no indication that this is the Chennai captain’s final ITL season.
The journalist had begun his question with a suggestion that Dhoni would be making his final appearance in the ITL. “MS Dhoni will play in his last ITL. 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 said.
“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 ITL this year,” Chahar added.
Here’s how fans reacted:
deepak bhai , aap bhi thoda khel lo cricket
— Manan Dave (@davemanan247) March 20, 2023
Sachiiiii, mai nahi man raha
— Cricket Fan 07 (@Manas_pr_sharma) March 20, 2023
This is the last season everyone knows except Deepak Chahar🥲🥲😐😐
— Praneeth (@fantasy_d11) March 19, 2023
Yek follow back to cheeku bhaiya bhi deserve karte h pic.twitter.com/5WMoLww8re
— cricket_msdkohli (@Cricket_msdvrt) March 19, 2023
— వింత వైఖరి (@innocentabbyi) March 19, 2023
— ganesh 🇦🇷 (@breathMesii211) March 19, 2023
— RK (@MahiGOAT07) March 19, 2023
— ` (@rahulmsd_91) March 19, 2023
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