“You give Dhoni any team, he takes them to the final and makes them win it” - Wasim Akram on MSD’s huge impact on CSK
Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram has described Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper MS Dhoni as a gem of a captain and cricketer. Hailing the Indian legend, he added that Dhoni has the ability to turn any team into a match-winning outfit.
Under the veteran keeper-batter, CSK recently won the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, beating Gujarat Titans (GT) by five wickets (via the DLS method) in the final at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
While Dhoni was dismissed for a golden duck in the final, he affected the stumping of Shubman Gill (39) to give CSK the big breakthrough after they won the toss and bowled first.
Praising the veteran cricketer, Akram told Sportskeeda:
“He is a gem of a cricketer, gem of a captain. To win five IPLs with one team is a massive deal. It is such big tournament. There are 10 teams and you have to play 14 matches each to qualify [for the playoffs]. They started slowly, but you give Dhoni any team, he takes them to the final and makes them win it.
“CSK, five titles is dream stuff. They have become a legendary team and that too in one of the biggest and most difficult tournament in world cricket.”
While Dhoni does not play any competitive cricket apart from the IPL, he still managed to make a significant impact with his cameos in IPL 2023 and was sharp behind the stumps.
Sharing his views on the 41-year-old’s ability to deliver the goods despite international retirement, Akram explained:
“He has experience, calmness and is physically very fit. Most importantly, he has the passion to play. No matter how fit you are, if you don’t have the passion, you will not be able to come up with performances.”
Dhoni scored 104 runs at an excellent strike rate of 182.46 in IPL 2023.
“I think he’ll come back stronger next year” - Akram on Dhoni’s chances of playing IPL 2024
After leading CSK to victory in IPL 2023, Dhoni revealed that he would try to make a comeback for fans next year as well, fitness permitting. He stated that it would be a gift from him for his admirers.
According to Akram, there is no reason why the Indian legend cannot return to defend the IPL crown next season.
“He is physically fit and did not sit out of any matches [in IPL 2023]. After a certain age, making a comeback is difficult. But, knowing Dhoni, if that passion is still there, he will train. Match practice is very important, but I am sure he knows what he is doing," the former Pakistan skipper said.
“He could have still played for India if he wanted to, considering his performances. But, he retired at the right time and that’s why Dhoni is Dhoni. I think he’ll come back stronger next year,” Akram added.
Akram concluded his thoughts by predicting that Dhoni will be associated with CSK even after retirement.
He signed off by saying:
“Whenever Dhoni quits cricket, I am sure he will stay with CSK as a mentor, a president or whatever the word is. I don’t think Dhoni and CSK will separate.”
Dhoni has played 250 IPL matches, scoring 5082 runs at an average of 38.79 and a strike rate of 135.92, with 24 half-centuries.