CHENNAI: Chennai Super Kings captain M.S. Dhoni was not looking rusty in the nets while practicing for the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League, according to spinner Piyush Chawla. Dhoni was set to make his comeback to competitive cricket in this IPL before the coronavirus pandemic forced its indefinite postponement.
Before the start of the tournament, the CSK management held a training camp at the Chepauk Stadium in early March where Dhoni was present. The stands were packed as is normally the case in Chennai and videos of Dhoni hitting sixes were tweeted out regularly by the franchise.
"Honestly speaking, whenever a cricketer makes a comeback after such a long break, people think that he will be a bit rusty. But I am sure he was doing something at Ranchi because when Dhoni landed in the camp, he didn't look rusty at all. His routine work was -- he played five-six balls and then used to clear the fence," Chawla told Aakash Chopra on the latter's YouTube channel.
"He batted for long. In fact, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Dhoni and Murali Vijay....there were limited players in the camp and there were a number of bowlers. So everyone batted for long - 2-2:30 hours every day. Every batsman played 200-250 balls," said Chawla.
Dhoni has last played competitive cricket in India's semi-final tie against New Zealand in the 2019 ICC World Cup on July 10, 2019. He then decided to take a break from international cricket in which time Rishabh Pant and K.L. Rahul filled in as wicketkeepers. The IPL was seen as Dhoni's last chance of claiming a place in the Indian team for the 2020 T20 World Cup. But even the showpiece event is now set to be postponed.