Dhoni did not bat on the eve of the first match of IPL 2023, following which speculation arose that he was injured. The Indian Express reported that Dhoni has a niggle in his left knee, which puts him in doubt for Friday’s match against Gujarat Titans.
CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan, however, denied the reports. Speaking to PTI, he said, "As far as I am concerned, the skipper is 100 percent playing. I don't know about any other development.”
In the event of Dhoni being ruled out, England all-rounder Ben Stokes could lead the side. Stokes was purchased at the mini-auction for Rs 16.25 crore and is touted to take over as CSK leader from Dhoni once the latter retires. Young opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, who captains Maharashtra in domestic cricket, could be another of the contenders for leadership.
Among wicket-keepers, Devon Conway can take the gloves if Dhoni is unavailable. Ambati Rayudu can be another keeping option.
Meanwhile, Chennai Super Kings have suffered another injury setback as left-arm seamer Mukesh Choudhary has been ruled out of entire IPL 2023 with a stress fracture of the back. Nagaland left-arm seamer Akash Singh, who has represented Rajasthan Royals previously, has been signed by CSK as a replacement player.
Choudhary claimed 16 wickets for CSK in 13 games at an economy rate of 9.31 in IPL 2022. His replacement Akash has been signed at a base price of Rs 20 lakh. He has played nine T20s so far and has claimed seven wickets at an economy rate of 7.87.
Before Choudhary, New Zealand all-rounder Kyle Jamieson was also ruled out of the entire season due to a back injury. CSK replaced Jamieson with South Africa’s Sisanda Magala, who was picked at his base price of Rs 50 lakh.
Chennai Super Kings will also miss the Sri Lankan duo of Maheesh Theekshana and Matheesha Pathirana in the initial games. They will join the franchise after the white-ball series in New Zealand ends on April 8.
Chennai Super Kings IPL 2023 squad
MS Dhoni (c), Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ambati Rayudu, Subhranshu Senapati, Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Dwaine Pretorius, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja, Tushar Deshpande, Mukesh Chowdhary, Matheesha Pathirana, Simarjeet Singh, Deepak Chahar, Prashant Solanki, Maheesh Theekshana, Ajinkya Rahane, Ben Stokes, Shaik Rasheed, Nishant Sindhu, Sisanda Magala, Ajay Mandal, Bhagath Varma.
--By A Cricket Correspondent