DUBAI: Indian cricket icon Mahendra Singh Dhoni vowed on Sunday to be back for Chennai Super Kings in next edition of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament, despite predictions of a shake-up after the team crashed out of the playoffs race.
Three-time IPL winners Chennai were the first of the eight teams to drop out of contention, raising doubts about captain Dhoni’s future with the franchise.
But the 39-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman, who ended his international career in August, assured fans ahead of Chennai’s last game this season that he would return in the yellow jersey.
“Definitely not,” Dhoni said at the toss when he was asked by former New Zealand paceman Danny Morrison if the game against Kings XI Punjab was his last for Chennai.
The comment set Twitter alight with the hashtag #DefinitelyNot trending in India.
“Definitely Not! We are not going to miss our champion next year,” wrote one Twitter user.
Dhoni was criticised for his go-slow batting in this edition of the IPL, which is being held behind closed doors in the United Arab Emirates due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Pundits have predicted an overhaul of Dhoni’s ageing team, which has many players aged over 35 including Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir and the skipper himself.
“MSD has said that he’ll be there in 2021. But there could be a couple of #CSK players who might not be there at all. In any team’s colours. #IPL,” cricketer-turned-commentator Aakash Chopra wrote on Twitter.
The 13th edition of the virus-hit tournament ends on November 10 and the next season is scheduled to start in April 2021.