Now that people have had time to recover from Mumbai Indians’ delirious race to the finish to pick up their fifth IPL title, the focus has shifted back to one of the most horrendous runs for the Chennai Super Kings. And the clamour is growing for Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s head. But will it really roll in the true sense of the word?
The Chennai Super Kings will not want to alienate their fans, particularly if the IPL 2021 is staged in India, by throwing the baby out with the bathwater. That is essentially what it will be if the Chennai Super Kings throw all their cricketers back into a possible mega auction should it be held, along with their erstwhile captain to date. However, Dhoni’s place might be a gamble as other former cricketers have suggested.
Should the curtains have been drawn on Dhoni after the UAE mishap? Some are suggesting a complete reinvention of the Chennai Super Kings after what has become obvious writing on the wall: this team does not have the legs to take their legacy into the next decade. However, others like Aakash Chopra are suggesting a more strategic approach at the next mega auction.
There were suggestions even early into the thirteenth season that the Chennai Super Kings might use a change of captaincy mid-season. Faf du Plessis’ name was thrown in the mix. But the Chennai Super Kings stood their ground.
Chopra suggests that Dhoni be released into the auction and Chennai go back to the drawing board. But he is not suggesting that the CSK team dump their captain altogether. Chopra claims that Chennai can buy back Dhoni with the right to match option that has been added into the action drama.
It will be a brave and bold move and Chopra suggests that the Chennai team could possibly save the 15 crore rupee retention fee to put it into another star cricketer who might be more of a long term option.
Objectively it would make sense that if the team were to build afresh, particularly with their captain getting on in the years and not a surety over a three year period even, the team may as well invest in a new captain – whether from the old lot or someone from the new batch once the auctions are done.
Since the Chennai Super Kings would have preferred a much smoother transition that they have been served up after the horror that has been their UAE stint, they will not only want a heroic home send-off for their longstanding captain but also, not put him through the seeming ‘disgrace’ of having to be put him back in the auction only to then be picked back.
If the CSK were to do that, they would break tradition, given how they have tended to be conservative when handling their players.
A strange season can force franchisees into making some bold, some erratic decisions. But even as the voices rise about Dhoni’s temperament and CSK’s strategy going into IPL 2021, it seems far-fetched that the CSK management would be taking Chopra’s advice or anyone’s for that matter to heart.