Dhoni back for more in 2021

All the signs suggested Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s time in the Indian Premier League was coming to an end, but the Chennai Super Kings veteran is adamant he’s not done yet.

Pressure on Dhoni after season to forget

It has been a disappointing 2020 IPL campaign for the Super Kings after they failed to reach the playoffs for the first time in the competition’s history. The CSK skipper endured a tough tournament, only notching up 172 runs at an average of 25. With many expecting Dhoni to bid the IPL farewell in their final encounter of the season against the Kings XI Punjab, the 39-year-old shocked the Indian cricket public by saying he definitely has not played his last game in the yellow jersey of Chennai.

Not only does it look like Dhoni will be back playing for Chennai next season, but the veteran wicketkeeper also looks set to retain the captaincy of the Super Kings, with management seemingly happy with his leadership. That news has not been greeted with open arms by all, as former India batting coach Sanjay Bangar feels the leadership role should be handed to another in the Chennai ranks for a fresh start next term.

Du Plessis an option for Super Kings

South African veteran Faf du Plessis has been highlighted as an ideal candidate to take over, especially after the lackluster season CSK has endured in the IPL. Bangar has looked back and feels Dhoni did the right thing with his timing of letting go of the captaincy of the Indian national side, who are available at 23/10 with 888sport in the offers by to win the 2021 T20 World Cup. At that time, Dhoni handed over the captaincy to Virat Kohli but only once India had come through some tough fixtures against England and Australia. That put Kohli in a position to make a positive start to his reign as India captain and Dhoni deserves credit for how he handled the situation.

Bangar feels now would be the right time to pass the captaincy to Du Plessis, who himself is a former international captain with plenty of experience from leading the Proteas. It does make sense to pick the 36-year-old South African, especially as CSK does not look to be in a position to bring in new personnel for next season that would be a standout pick as captain. Leaders it would seem are hard to come by in the IPL, and if they do arrive, it’s a premium cost.

Mumbai setting the standard

It remains to be seen if Dhoni, who still a highly-popular figure with the team and fans, does keep hold of the captaincy. CSK has a long way to go if they are to compete against the reigning champions Mumbai Indians next term. Captain Rohit Sharma has been working wonders with Mumbai and has guided the Indians to five titles in the last eight years. 

It will be the task of Dhoni, or possibly Du Plessis, to try and narrow the gap on the reigning champions, in what could be a last hurrah for the former India skipper before life after playing IPL cricket.

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