Aakash Chopra, former Indian opener-turned commentator, has hailed MS Dhoni as the soul of the Chennai Super Kings, adding that the champion wicketkeeper-batsman will once again rule the roost in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League.
The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League will take place in the United Arab Emirates between September 19-November 10. The first game of the tournament will see defending champions Mumbai Indians lock horns against three-time winner and the most consistent side in the history of the cash-rich league, MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings.
‘MS Dhoni is the biggest strength of the team. The entire franchise is dependent on him. He is the soul of Chennai Super Kings. As long as he is there, CSK’s heart keeps beating and they move forward. MS Dhoni, the player and the captain, has a great impact,” Aakash Chopra said in his latest YouTube show.
Dhoni will be making a comeback to competitive cricket after a gap of almost 14 months and Chopra feels that the former captain might take some time to adjust but such is his experience that he will eventually come good.
“MS Dhoni, the batsman, we haven’t seen him in a long while. There are questions as to whether he will be able to hit the ground running or bat the way he used to in the past. Keep in mind, he is very experienced, and you don’t get experience in the supermarket,” Chopra said.
”This team, as I said before… Dhoni is the life and soul of this team. He is the one who is going to get the best out of everyone. MS Dhoni, the batsman, is important because when spin takes precedence, his influence will grow. He may not hit the ground running, but as the tournament progresses, I am pretty sure MS Dhoni is going to rule the roost.” he reckoned.
CSK are at the No. 1 spot when it comes to their bowling attack- Aakash Chopra
The IPL will take place across the three venues in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah. The tracks are expected to aid the spinners and Aakash Chopra reckoned that CSK has the perfect attack for the conditions.
Their second strength is the spin department. Harbhajan Singh is not there, it’s a bit of a setback. But they have others like Mitchell Santner, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja and Piyush Chawla. When you have 5 spinners of this calibre, you can play 2-3 together whenever you want. And in the UAE, when spinners become more important, that’s when they will come to the fore,” Aakash Chopra said.
“Their spin bowling department, even when you take the all-round bowling attack, they have very quality. When it comes to all-round bowling attack, CSK are at the No. 1 spot,” he added.
Aakash Chopra also reckoned that the presence experienced Indian batters and their ability to tackle spin-friendly conditions will keep CSK in good stead. He, however, added that the only weakness that he sees in the CSK set-up is the fact is that majority of their players do not international cricket anymore and the lack of competitive cricket in the past year or so could turn out to be their Achilles heel, especially in the early part of the tournament.
”Their Indian batting unit is another strength. If they had Raina, it could have been even better. When you have the likes of Dhoni, Vijay, Rayudu, and Jadhav in your top six in conditions conducive to spin, that’s another strength. When you talk about weaknesses, there’s not much. But when you look at it closely, they have been out of competitive cricket for a while. Eventually, it catches up with you. We saw it happen with Shane Watson last year. The likes of Dhoni, Vijay, Jadhav haven’t played competitive cricket in a long while. That could be a weakness,” Aakash Chopra signed off.