Such has been Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s form with the bat this season that everything has taken the back seat. The Chennai Super Kings )CSK) skipper has been in stunning form in the ongoing season of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Before the start of the tournament, Dhoni’s image as finisher had taken a beating. The former India skipper was not batting in the way that had made him one of the most dangerous batsmen on the planet a few years ago.
However, he has turned back the clock with some scintillating hitting in the ongoing edition eleven of the lucrative Twenty20 league. In fact, he is having the best IPL season of his life. He is not only winning games for his side almost single-handedly but is also showing unparalleled consistency.
So far, Dhoni has scored 360 runs at a strike rate of over 165 and an average of 90.
Going by his current form, this is Dhoni’s best season since 2013 when he had scored 461 runs in 18 games.
The veteran cricketer has already hit three fifties this season. He has also hit a staggering 27 sixes in addition to 19 fours.
Dhoni’s form is one of the prime reasons that the Super Kings are doing so well despite returning to the league after a two-year absence.
As of now, the two-time IPL champions are second in the table with seven wins from 10 games and are all but assured of a playoff berth.
Like always, Dhoni’s captaincy has been impeccable. However, his leadership has now got the due it deserves this season mainly because of his batting exploits.
Well, former India opener Kris Srikkanth has praised the 36-year old for his captaincy this season. Srikkanth is impressed with Dhoni’s ability to allocate certain roles of his teammates.
“A cursory glance at the points table and no one would know, Chennai Super Kings were not in the scheme of things for two seasons. The former champions have been as consistent as in their previous years, thanks to them finding a settled combination straightaway,” Srikkanth wrote in TOI.
“MS Dhoni is a past master at finding the perfect combination and more importantly he ensures each player realises his role and settles into it quickly. The confidence he showed in Deepak Chahar and Ambati Rayudu is a vital lesson for other skippers,” he added.
Super Kings have been bogged down by injury concerns. Their in-form pacer Deepak Chahar left the field after bowling 2.1 overs against Mumbai Indians (MI) due to a hamstring injury and was ruled out indefinitely.
Before the start of the season, the Super Kings lost Mitchell Santner due to an injury. Kedar Jadhav has also been ruled out for the entire season. However, the injuries have not hurt the team’s performance on the field.
“Despite losing a few players and some plagued by injuries in between, CSK has been the team to beat. What happens when a captain allocates clear roles is the dependence on individual performance comes down drastically. Dhoni himself has been special with the bat and at the same time every member has been contributing significantly as well,” Srikkanth added.
The former Indian star Srikkanth further said that he would like to see Ambati Rayudu being persisted as an opener for the remainder of the tournament.
Rayudu is one of the prime reasons behind Super Kings’ scintillating performance this season. With 423 runs, he is the leading run-scorer for the Super Kings this season.
“Going toward the business end of the tournament, the only change I would like to see in CSK is Rayudu playing the role of a permanent opener. I am not a big believer in constant changing of the batting order. Barring this, CSK are moving as a well-oiled machine and will definitely start as favourites against Rajasthan Royals,” said Srikkanth.
CSK take on Rajasthan Royals at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Friday. A win will all but seal their spot in the last four under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.