Mahendra Singh Dhoni has battled a dodgy back for a long time and he wants to be careful with it during the ongoing Indian Premier League as the World Cup is round the corner.

The 37-year-old missed a game for the Chennai Super Kings for the first time since 2010 last week to rest his back. But after the six-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad, the CSK captain said that while there has been some stiffness, his back is holding up as of now.

“The back is holding up, it’s not showing signs of getting worse. There were spasms at the start of the season but now there is just stiffness. With the World Cup coming up, I have to keep in mind that I can’t get injured, because that comes first,” Dhoni said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

He also said that at the highest level, most players have a niggle or two, joking about being 100% fit.

“At this level you play with some niggle or the other. Because if you wait to get fully fit in international cricket, then there will be a gap of five years between two matches. If it get worse, I will definitely take some time off,” he added cheekily.

Dhoni was in a good mood, joking about CSK’s ability to make the playoffs every year. “It’s a trade secret, if I reveal that I won’t get picked up at the auctions. Credit goes to the crowd in Chennai and our support staff. Other secrets, not revealing till I retire from cricket,” he said.

The captain also praised Player of the Match Shane Watson, who finally struck form after a string of low scores in this edition. The Australian scored a swashbuckling 96 off 53 balls that helped Chennai Super Kings reclaim their top spot on the table.

“I think you can give individuals a few games. Watson has been a match winner for us so we need to back him and he has been batting well in the nets. If Watson gets going, you know what’s on the plate,” Dhoni said.

“The small innings he played so far, he was middling them well although he struggled a bit. This is the time when you need to back them. The management’s thinking was to give him as many games as possible. And the team winning also means that a player gets more games than he would actually get,” he added.