MS Dhoni is 40, retired from international cricket and only turns up to play once a year. Yet, if one looks at how he has operated in IPL 2022, it appears as if the Chennai Super Kings captain is still in his early 30s. In a stark contrast to his batting in the last two years of the IPL, where he scored 200 and 114 runs respectively, Dhoni has turned the clock back with his batting this IPL season. He may have scored 199 runs from 12 matches, but the stat doesn't depict the entire picture just how good Dhoni has looked.
On Thursday, while all CSK batters flopped against Mumbai Indians, Dhoni stood there till the end, scoring an unbeaten 36 off 33 balls with four fours and two sixes to get the total closer to 100. While there was no surprise that Dhoni's strike-rate wasn't the strongest, given the state of his innings, his running between the wickets, like always, was a treat to the eyes. Dhoni ran like a young 20-year-old, a trait that has really impressed Matthew Hayden. Dhoni's future after this IPL season is not known, but Hayden reckons the CSK captain can easily continue for another year.
"My goodness. How fast is he running between the wickets. This is a guy that has really defied his age within a competition of this level. Good on him. If he wants to keep playing, he can because he is certainly turning up for his team," Hayden told Star Sports.
Dhoni began the season with an unbeaten 50 against Kolkata Knight Riders. A few games later, finisher Dhoni emerged as he hit an unbeaten 28 off 13 balls to help beat MI by three wickets in April. With 16 needed off the four balls, Dhoni smacked Jaydev Unadkat for 6, 4, 2, 6 as CSK emerged victorious. There were a few low scores in between but against Delhi Capitals, Dhoni played a cameo of 21 not out off 8 balls. With Ravindra Jadeja giving up captaincy, CSK could currently be unsure about their next leader, which is why Hayden pointed out that Dhoni's presence as a leader could be beneficial for the franchise next year.
"It's so important from a leadership point of view that you have someone like an MSD at the helm. Just having the certainty that you can pick someone in the team and then go through picking the rest of the team. That confidence he brings to the team, it's all the things we love about MSD," Hayden said.