‘Best time to announce my retirement but…’: MS Dhoni makes hearts stop after CSK win IPL; ‘Easy thing is to walk away’

What did fans want more in IPL 2023 season – a comeback win for Chennai Super Kings or for MS Dhoni to not say those heart-breaking goodbye words? Probably the first, or arguably more the second, given how the spectators have responded throughout the season. Much to delight of most, the first box was ticked in thundering fashion on Monday night when Chennai beat Gujarat Titans by five wickets in Ahmedabad to clinch a record-equalling fifth title. Later, when it was time for the second, the one for which cricket world waited with bated breaths, MS Dhoni made a heart-stopping ‘retirement’ remark that made the Ahmedabad crowd go berserk.

CSK captain MS Dhoni
CSK captain MS Dhoni

It wasn’t the night for Dhoni the batter as he suffered an unlikely golden duck in Chennai’s chase of 171 in the rain-truncated IPL 2023 final at the Narendra Modi Stadium. But it was surely the night for Dhoni the skipper who played a pivotal role in Chennai scripting a stunning turnaround from 2022 season where they had finished ninth in the table to win the trophy in 2023.

After the match, and the long presentation ceremony where all the awards were presented, the winning-skipper was finally called upon, and presenter Harsha Bhogle did not waste another moment by jumping right to the main question.

Dhoni admitted that it was probably the right or the “best time” for him to bid adieu to the sport by announcing his retirement from IPL, but credited the fans for showering all the love and support throughout the season and hence said that he would want to make a comeback next year as well. Although knowing that it might be physically even more demanding given his age, 41, and his ongoing knee condition, Dhoni added that he has nine months to take the big call on his IPL 2024 participation.

“Looking for an answer? Circumstantially, this is the best time to announce my retirement. But the amount of love I have received all over. The easy thing would be to walk away from here, but the harder thing would be working hard for 9 months and try to play another IPL. It would be a gift from me, won’t be easy on the body,” he said.

The CSK legend also hailed the continued crowd support that he and CSK have received during the season.

“You do get emotional, the first game at CSK everyone was chanting my name. My eyes were full of water, I needed to take some time off in the dugout. I realised I need to enjoy this. I think they love me for what I am, they love that I am so grounded, I don’t try to portray something I’m not. Just keep it simple,” he added.