CHENNAI: Fans have been waiting anxiously to watch MS Dhoni in action ever since the IPL Governing Council announced that the tournament will be held in the UAE from September 19 to November 10. Dhoni, who has not played a competitive match since India’s World Cup semifinal exit last year, had started training at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium with his CSK teammates in March when the pandemic led to the postponement of the tournament.
Since returning to Ranchi, the former India captain has spent most of his time at home with occasional visits to his farmhouse. As the dates of the league are out now, Dhoni too has decided to wield the willow and get back into the groove. The three-time IPL winning captain and multiple-time finalist is back at the nets. This is happening in Ranchi and in absence of bowlers due to the shutdown, the former India skipper is making do with bowling machines.
“He visited the JSCA International Stadium Complex last week. He practised at the indoor facility using bowling machine,” a Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) office-bearer confirmed to this daily on condition of anonymity. “He did batting practice for two days over the weekend, but has not returned since.” Given the hype that surrounds his every move and secrecy he maintains, it’s not a surprise that no one knows Dhoni’s schedule. “I honestly don’t know what are his plans or whether he will come back for training. We only know he has visited the facility for practice,” said the official.
Before the lockdown, Dhoni was a regular visitor to the JSCA complex. His routine included training at the gym and having nets. He also inaugurated a pitch around that time. However, he stopped visiting the facility once the lockdown came into effect. As confirmed by team CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan, the team will assemble in Chennai before leaving for UAE after August 20 so that they can have three weeks of practice ahead of the event. Given the long layoff he has had, the 39-year-old might have a few more training sessions in his hometown before joining the team.