MS Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu, among other Chennai Super Kings players, have been training for about a week now. CSK are currently in Chennai, where players are getting up to speed ahead of IPL 2021.
With MS Dhoni last playing cricket in IPL 2020, there are concerns about how the iconic player fares in the latest edition of the IPL. Dhoni will soon turn 40 and has a point to prove in 2021 after a disappointing campaign last time out.
CSK fielding coach Rajiv Kumar talked about MS Dhoni’s first week back in training with the franchise. In Episode 1 of AnbuDen Diaries, Rajiv Kumar explains what MS Dhoni has been up to as he gears up for IPL 2021.
“You know how smart MS (Dhoni) is. He understands his body, he understands his game. Not too many 40-year-old men assess the ball that clearly, and his determination is great to see.”
MS Dhoni had his worst IPL season last year, with the skipper failing to score a fifty for the first time in his career. He scored just 200 runs at a strike rate of 116.27. MS Dhoni struggled to finish games for the franchise as well.
CSK’s fielding coach admitted they are still figuring out how to use MS Dhoni this season, but revealed how the skipper is clear with his plans while training.
“Every session he is coming with a certain plan, and he is working on it. We are just trying to figure out how to get the east out of him”
Ambati Rayudu is part of the training camp alongside MS Dhoni
Another senior player part of CSK’s training camp is Ambati Rayudu. The 35-year-old will act as a crucial part of CSK’s middle order this season, and he admitted returning to training after a break has been challenging.
“It’s always hard to start after a break because, after Mushtaq Ali, I’ve not played much cricket. It’s been about a month and a half (without cricket), so it takes about 6-7 sessions to get back into that rhythm.”
Ambati Rayudu scored 359 runs for CSK last year and was one of just two batsmen alongside Faf du Plessis to go past the 300 run mark for the franchise. With players like Robin Uthappa in the side, Ambati Rayudu is expected to add stability to the middle order in the upcoming campaign.
The batsman looked ahead to IPL 2021, admitting understanding his game right now is of prime importance.
“Also, to understand where I need to be. We all understand where we need to be, but where we are right now is the most important realisation. It is about knowing where my game is at the moment.”
In addition to discussing MS Dhoni’s fitness, Rajiv Kumar also revealed his plans for Ambati Rayudu.
“Rayudu is a beautiful timer of the cricket ball. I don’t want him to rush at the start. The idea is to be ready before so that he can target certain areas and the body gets used to it. Once he gets going he is a dangerous player.”
Both MS Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu have returned to training about a month before IPL 2021. The two are among the most experienced heads out there and will target a successful campaign after CSK missed out on the playoffs for the first time in their history last time out.