Mahendra Singh Dhoni, popularly known as M.S. Dhoni or simply Dhoni, is one of the most iconic figures in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL). He captained the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) throughout his IPL career and played a pivotal role in establishing the team as one of the most successful franchises in the tournament. Here’s a look at Dhoni’s IPL journey:
- Inaugural Season (2008):
Dhoni was bought by the Chennai Super Kings for a whopping amount of $1.5 million, making him the most expensive player of the inaugural IPL season. Under his captaincy, CSK reached the final but finished as runners-up to the Rajasthan Royals.
- Champions in 2010:
In 2010, Dhoni led CSK to their maiden IPL title. The team had an outstanding campaign, winning 9 out of 14 matches in the group stage and defeating the Mumbai Indians in the final to clinch the championship.
- Back-to-Back Titles (2011, 2018):
Dhoni and CSK continued their dominance in the IPL, winning the tournament again in 2011. They defeated the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the final to lift the trophy for the second time. After facing a two-year suspension from the IPL due to a spot-fixing scandal, CSK made a triumphant comeback in 2018, with Dhoni leading them to their third IPL title. They beat the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the final.
- Consistent Performances:
Under Dhoni’s leadership, CSK consistently reached the playoffs in most of the IPL seasons. They were runners-up in 2012, 2013, and 2015. Dhoni’s calm and composed captaincy style and his ability to finish matches with his batting prowess made him a standout performer in the tournament.
- Stepping Down as Captain:
In August 2020, Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket, but he continued to lead CSK in the IPL. However, ahead of the 2021 season, he stepped down as captain, passing the mantle to his teammate and opening batsman Suresh Raina. Dhoni continued to play as a wicketkeeper-batsman for the team.
- IPL 2021 and Beyond:
The IPL 2021 season was suspended indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dhoni’s future participation in the IPL beyond the 2021 season remains uncertain, as he has not made any official announcement regarding his retirement from the tournament.
Dhoni’s CSK has lifted the IPL 2023 trophy, the yellow army has taken home a whopping Rs 20 crore this season.
Throughout his IPL journey, Dhoni has been known for his exceptional leadership skills, tactical acumen, and the ability to remain calm under pressure. He holds numerous records in the IPL, including the most wins as captain and the most dismissals as a wicketkeeper. His contribution to CSK and the IPL as a whole has left an indelible mark on the tournament’s history.