• Ka-ching: Chennai’s spend and Dhoni’s future

    Former Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils batsman Kevin Pietersen has pondered the capability of Chennai Super Kings veteran Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the 2020 Indian Premier League.

    Dhoni has been central to the franchise for several years. He has led them to three IPL titles. Prior to last week’s start of the IPL 2020, he hadn’t played competitive cricket since the 2019 World Cup in the United Kingdom.

    He was not contracted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India this year – and has since retired from all forms of international cricket.

    Dhoni, though, is still the captain of the Super Kings. He was at the fore of their win over the reigning champions Mumbai Indians in the first match of the 2020 IPL.

    “It is going to be interesting to see how he goes in this competition. I know how passionate he is, how dedicated he is and how much he loves the Chennai Super Kings,” Pietersen wrote in a blog for Betway.

    “But, after this long break from cricket, and everything that’s been associated with it, it’s difficult to know how he will be feeling. It might have refreshed him and set him up positively, or it might have had a negative influence on his game. I don’t think it will be somewhere between the two.

    “Will this be his last IPL? And how is he going to go out if it is? Maybe he can play for a few more years, but it’s something we’ll have to watch out for over the next few months.

    “Whatever his thoughts are about the future, I know they won’t affect his captaincy. He’s a pretty cool guy, very unassuming and he enjoys going under the radar. Whether he can still produce those performances as the match-winner, the finisher, for CSK will be very interesting to find out.”

    The Super Kings won the IPL in 2010, 2011 and 2018. They lost the 2019 final to Mumbai. Chennai are among the richest franchises. Whether spending plenty on players leads to success in the IPL is debatable.

    Indeed, no IPL franchise with the most expensive squad – and just one with the cheapest – has ever won the tournament.

    The Delhi Capitals (formerly the Daredevils) are among the favourites to win this year. They pulled off a tight victory over the Kings XI Punjab to solidify their status at this year’s IPL.

    “The Delhi Capitals are a favourite of mine. I had my best IPL years at Delhi. I love the ownership structure, and I am still very close to them now. I also had some of my best innings with Delhi and enjoyed a great rapport with the fans of the franchise,” added Pietersen.

    “I’d really love them to turn a corner and for everybody to fire this year. They’ve got Ricky Ponting as their coach, Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada as their overseas bowlers, and some very exciting Indian talent on their books. I want them to win it.”

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    Jonhenry Wilson