IPL 2024: I'd be surprised if Dhoni isn't part of CSK in an official capacity, says Hayden

New Delhi, May 19 (IANS): Amidst speculation over M.S. Dhoni's retirement from the Indian Premier League (IPL), former Australian opener Matthew Hayden shared his thoughts on the future of the ex-Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper. Hayden said he would be surprised if Dhoni does not remain part of the CSK family, either as a mentor or in another official capacity.

The 42-year-old wicketkeeper, who has led the Men in Yellow to five IPL titles, is believed to have played his final game against Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) on Saturday. Last year, he promised to return for one more season to show his appreciation for the fans' support.

However, after CSK's title hopes were shattered by a 27-run loss to RCB, fans and experts are wondering whether he would announce his retirement or continue for another year.

"I think this is it. I do believe that this will be the last time that Dhoni will play. Certainly, won't be the last time that we see Dhoni. I'd be very surprised if he doesn't mentor or be a part of the family of CSK in an official capacity," said Hayden on Star Sports Cricket Live.

CSK have been handling Dhoni's workload after his knee surgery. He only encounters a few deliveries when he comes out to bat. Batting quite lower in the order, the former skipper has faced 73 balls in the season and smashed 14 boundaries and 13 maximums at a strike rate of 220.54.

"I suppose the thing is when you come to the end of your career, whether it is the last part of his career or not, what you don't want to see is diminishing returns as an athlete. Firstly, as a leader, he is The Thala of the Chennai Super Kings. This is telling me that nothing here is about becoming anything else other than first place.

"He's desperately using his brains, all of that cricket knowledge. And of course, the power is there and that's always been MS Dhoni. He's always hit balls at this stage of an innings. At the front, you can understand how players can hit it. But at the back, it's really hard to hit balls," Hayden added.

Meanwhile, former India cricketer and ex-CSK batter Ambati Rayudu believes that Dhoni might be playing in the next IPL season as well.

"I don't think this is his last game. I just don't see him wanting to end on this note. He looked a little frustrated, even when he got out. That’s very unlike M.S. Dhoni, he just wanted to qualify and finish on a high. But you never know with MS Dhoni, he might come back next year.

"And with the Impact Player role as well, it allows him to be able to come in those last few overs and truly make that impact. BCCI better not remove the Impact Player rule because we still want to see Dhoni play. So, it's up to BCCI now. Do we want to see Dhoni play or not," he said.



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Title: IPL 2024: I'd be surprised if Dhoni isn't part of CSK in an official capacity, says Hayden

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