MS Dhoni, the man who once cried at a private dinner party after Chennai Super Kings returned to the Indian Premier League fold after serving a two-year ban for corruption, said CSK needed to build a fresh core to serve the team for another 10 years.
Speaking during the presentation ceremony after Chennai Super Kings scored an emphatic nine-wicket win against Kings XI Punjab, Dhoni said he was not retiring from T20 cricket and it was time to plan ahead and invest in players who will secure CSK's future. (HIGHLIGHTS OF KXIP vs CSK)
Three-time champions Chennai Super Kings finished with 12 points from 14 matches in one of their worst-ever shows in IPL history. CSK finished with a bang, winning four matches on the trot and Sunday's win devastated KXIP's hopes of advancing in IPL 2020. (POINTS TABLE)
"It was a difficult campaign. We committed a lot of errors. The last four games were a template of where we would like to be. Proud of the guys because if you're lagging behind for seven-eight games, it becomes really difficult," said Dhoni.
The 39-year-old said it was time to move on and with the next edition of the IPL only months away (April-May 2021), Dhoni said there was an urgency to find the next core of players who would serve the CSK.
"We need to slightly change our core group and look for the next 10 years. At the start of the IPL (in 2008), we made a team that served us well for 10 years. It's time to hand it over to the next generation," said Dhoni
The talismanic Dhoni, who has the blind support of CSK owner and former BCCI chief N. Srinivasan, said that the absence of senior players hurt the team's composition.
It is unlikely that CSK will trust Suresh Raina any more. Raina had deserted CSK this season citing fear of COVID. (Photo: BCCI)
Senior players Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh deserted Chennai Super Kings even before the IPL started in UAE on September 19. Raina returned from UAE citing "personal problems" while Harbhajan never went public with his excuse.
Raina's sudden exit left the CSK management fuming and Srinivasan compared the veteran No. 3 to a temperamental 'prima donna'.
It is unlikely that Raina and Harbhajan will figure in CSK's plans for the future even if Srinivasan called the former Indian top-order batsman a 'family' member.
Emotions will go out of the window when the auctions come to an end of this year.
Dhoni said he will be around to help Chennai Super Kings rebuild.
"We'll come back strong. That's what we're known for. Maybe, they thought I'm retiring," Dhoni said, clearly indicating that he was not retiring from franchise cricket.