In his inimitable style, Mahendra Singh Dhoni kept questions about Indian Premier League retirement open-ended, adding that a lot of things will depend on the kind of retention policy that BCCI puts in place for the mega auction before next edition.
When commentator Harsha Bhogle said he can be proud of the legacy left behind in more than a decade for CSK, Dhoni assured his fans with a wide grin: “Still I haven’t left behind....”
But before that he said that he hasn’t decided how he would fit into the retention scheme of things.
“Again I’ve said it before, it depends on BCCI. With two new teams coming in......we have to decide what is good for CSK,” the skipper said after his team won the fourth IPL title by beating Kolkata Knight Riders in the final.
“It’s about making a strong core and making sure the franchise doesn’t really suffer, because it will be an auction where you have to make a team for the next ten years. Definitely in 2008, the core group carried on for more than ten years. We’ll have to have a hard look as to... in the next ten years, who are the people who will contribute in a similar manner.”
Dhoni started the post-match chat by praising KKR even before addressing CSK’s win.
“Before I start talking about CSK, need to talk about KKR. Difficult to come back and do what they have, if any team deserved to win the IPL, it’s KKR. Huge credit to the coaches, team and support staff. The break really helped them.”
Dhoni, who is set to join the Indian team as mentor for the T20 World Cup, spoke about how he would like to create a roadmap for the next 10 years of IPL that Chennai Super Kings will be playing.
He was also happy that a lot of individual match-winners have got CSK to their fourth trophy. “We had match winners coming game after game and doing really well. Every final is special, if you look at stats, we may say we’re the most consistent team to lose the final too. I feel it’s important to come back strong, especially in the knockouts,” he said.
Dhoni also made it clear that he is not very much into team meetings as the average attention span during these meetings are 20 minutes.
“Frankly no chats, we don’t talk a lot (meetings). It’s more one-on-one, our practice sessions are meeting sessions. The moment you get into a team room, it brings about different pressure. Our practice sessions have been good.”
The CSK legend, affectionately called Thala by his legion of fans, had a message for the franchises supporters.
“I would love to thank the fans, wherever we’ve played, even when we were in South Africa, we’ve always had a good number of CSK fans. That is what you crave for. Thanks to all of them, it feels like we’re playing in Chennai. Hopefully we’ll be back in Chennai for the fans.”
In what was a very interesting take into how he views team dynamics, Dhoni said knockout cricket is as much an individual sport even if cricket itself is a team game.
“You can’t really win without having a good team. But also individuals. Once you get into the knockouts, it changes from a team sport. It also becomes an individual sport. You may come up with ten minutes of special performance and that can really help you win the game. It is a team sport, but the moment you get into the knockout, [you need to] make sure that if you are somebody who is doing well, you keep doing well. And if you have not contributed a lot, it could be the one or two performances that really help the team win the trophy,” he said.
(With PTI and ESPNCricinfo inputs)