Chennai: Veteran wicketkeeper-batsman M.S. Dhoni, who would be making his comeback on the cricket field during the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL), believes Chennai Super Kings (CSK) has helped him improve both as a cricketer and an individual.
Dhoni, who has been a vital cog of the Chennai-based franchise, has been on a sabbatical since India’s 2019 World Cup exit against New Zealand in the semi-finals.
The 38-year-old has won three IPL trophies with CSK, besides two Champions League titles in 2010 and 2014.
“This journey started in 2008, CSK has helped me improve in everything whether it was being a human being or being a cricketer, handling situations that are tough both in and out of the field and how to be humble once you are doing well,” said Dhoni while speaking on Return of the Lion show on Star Sports Network.
The former India captain is fondly called “Thala” in Chennai, which has now become his second hometown.
“‘Thala’ basically means brother, so for me, it’s more the abstract of the fans, the love and affection towards me is the reflection of that. Whenever I am in Chennai or down South they never call me by my name they address me as ‘Thala’ and the moment someone calls me Thala they are showing their love and respect but at the same time he is a CSK fan,” he added.
Dhoni has so far played 190 IPL matches (including two editions for Rising Pune Supergiants) and has scored 4,432 runs, including 23 half centuries.
Meanwhile, former India batting coach Sanjay Bangar said Dhoni will be fresh and raring to go after having a break of almost seven-eight months and would be looking to win another IPL edition for his franchise.
“It is tough to find the rhythm initially but it can also be a huge advantage because when you are playing international cricket, the amount of pressure that you are under, you sort of get into a tunnel vision with regard to various responsibility and the needs of the team,” said Bangar.
“So from a player perspective if he (Dhoni) has taken a break for 6-7 months, he has a good chance to rediscover, refresh and reinvent,” he added.
CSK will start their IPL 2020 campaign against defending champions Mumbai Indians on March 29 at the Wankhede Stadium in what will be a repeat of last year’s final.