Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was training purposefully and focussing hard on the drills as he prepared to make his grand return to the much-awaited Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020. Dhoni led the way for the rest of his teammates as he returned to the action for his beloved franchise Chennai Super Kings. The three-time winners (CSK) had commenced their training on March 2 with Dhoni joining from day one, but it was suspended on March 14 owing to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Also Read - RR vs SRH Dream11 Team Prediction Dream11 IPL 2020: Captain, Vice-captain, Fantasy Playing Tips, Probable XIs For Today's Rajasthan Royals vs Sunrisers Hyderabad T20 Match 40 at Dubai International Cricket Stadium 7.30 PM IST October 22 Thursday
The 38-year-old’s intensity stood out and he looked in spectacular touch during the IPL camp, claimed Dhoni’s CSK’s teammates. From India international Piyush Chawla to former pacer Lakshmipathy Balaji – everyone remained unperturbed by speculations over their talisman’s future in international cricket. Also Read - IPL 2020: 'Miyan, Ready ho Jao,' How Virat Kohli Boosted Mohammed Siraj's Confidence Before Stunning Bowling Spell
Leg-spinner Chawla, who was picked by the franchise during the auction late last year, said Dhoni was focused and showed match-like intensity in the way he was batting and keeping. Also Read - IPL 2020: Mohammed Siraj Wasn't Supposed to Open The Attack And Then Virat Kohli Had a Change of Heart
“Mahi bhai was absolutely focused, training purposefully and was looking really good. He was showing match-like intensity in the way he was batting and keeping and that was rubbing off on others,” Chawla was quoted as saying on the CSK website.
Karn Sharma, another leggie in the squad, said the CSK captain’s enthusiasm and involvement were a source of inspiration for the other members.
“Mahi bhai was batting for two to three hours at nets every day, and the way he was hitting the ball no one could say he was returning from a long break. The way he was training was a huge motivation for the rest of us,” he added.
“During match simulations, he was very involved, speaking to the bowlers, and the rhythm he was in, it was a big boost for our team,” Sharma said.
Meanwhile the team’s bowling coach, Balaji, a former India cricketer, described Dhoni as a natural athlete and that he was clearly looking forward to the season.
“MS is a natural athlete and supremely fit. He didn’t look rusty, didn’t look one bit like he was away from the game. He was clearly looking forward to the season, the way he was training, batting, keeping and being involved with the team,” Balaji added.
Team physiotherapist Tommy Simsek said it was the first time in about 10 years he saw Dhoni do some wicketkeeping training.
“For the first time in about 10 years I saw MS do some wicketkeeping training and that goes to show that he was definitely keen, definitely focused to do well this year,” he added.
“I was worried that he hadn’t done much for a long time and then that he would try and do too much, too soon and he may get injured.
“It turned that I need not have worried – MS being the professional, he looked in really good shape. He said he’d started (training) a month or so before our fitness camp,” Simsek said.