Former Pakistani pacer Shoaib Akhtar has stated that MS Dhoni could return as player and captain for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) next IPL season if he wants to. He added that, if not as a player, the legendary keeper-batter can take over as a mentor or head coach as well.
Chennai have had a disastrous IPL 2022 season, winning only four of their 12 matches so far. Their campaign has been marred by the captaincy controversy. Ravindra Jadeja was handed over the leadership reins at the start of the season, but Dhoni was reappointed captain midway through the edition.
With playoff hopes for the season over, CSK will now be looking forward to building a IPL team for the future. On what role the legendary Dhoni can play for the franchise going forward, Akhtar told Sportskeeda:
“He can obviously continue playing next season if he wants to. But, if he doesn’t want to continue playing, he can return as a mentor or even a head coach. That would not be a bad role for him. It all depends on Dhoni. He is an asset. Either he is in the team or with the team.”
Sharing his views on the captaincy fiasco, the 'Rawalpindi Express' claimed that Chennai’s management did not look all that serious, which is why the issue escalated to such an extent. he opined:
“CSK’s management looked non-serious this time. Why the captaincy went to Jadeja we do not know. But they need to come back with a clear mind next season.”
Jadeja recently left the CSK bio-bubble amid rumors of a rift between the all-rounder and the management. The franchise’s official release on the matter, however, stated that Jadeja had been released as they did not want to risk his rib injury further.
The detailed IPL 2022 schedule are available here.
“Dhoni might just play another song and announce his retirement” - Shoaib Akhtar
Asked whether he felt Dhoni would announce his IPL retirement after the ongoing season, Akhtar replied that no one can read what’s going on in the former Indian captain’s mind. He commented:
“Dhoni might just play another song and announce his retirement. One really cannot predict what he can do. It’s just the kind of person he is. If he suddenly feels that he has to retire, he will do it. To be honest, the time has come for a few players. There are no ifs and buts in franchise cricket.”
Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket in 2020 with a social media post, which included a montage capturing his India career and a classic Bollywood song playing alongside it.