IPL | Professional cricket not easy, nobody gives you discount for age: Dhoni opens up on playing competitive cricket post retirement

As of now uncertainty still revolves around the future of Dhoni and only he can tell if he would feature in the next edition of the Indian Premier League

Updated - May 21, 2024 12:52 pm IST

Published - May 21, 2024 12:51 pm IST - New Delhi

Chennai Super Kings M.S. Dhoni gestures during an IPL 2024 match.

Chennai Super Kings M.S. Dhoni gestures during an IPL 2024 match. | Photo Credit: JOTHI RAMALINGAM B

Former India and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captain M.S. Dhoni said that even though he does not play cricket throughout the year, there is no "discount for age" when he plays in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The 42-year-old Dhoni played for CSK in the ongoing IPL 2024, under the leadership of Ruturaj Gaikwad, to whom he handed over the captaincy ahead of this season. His team crashed out of the playoffs race after a loss to Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) on Saturday. CSK finished at the fifth spot with seven wins, seven losses and 14 points and crashed out of the final four race due to an inferior net run rate.

Speaking in a video on Dubai Eye 103.8 YouTube channel on Monday, Dhoni said, "The toughest thing is... I am not playing cricket throughout the year. So I have to be fit. Once I come, you are competing against youngsters who are fit and playing international cricket. Professional sport is not easy, nobody gives you a discount for age. If you want to play, you have to be as fit as the other guy. Age does not really give that grace to you. So, eating habits, a bit of training and all those things are there. Social media, thankfully, I am not on social media, so there's less distraction."

Dhoni also said that during the peak of his cricketing career when he was active across all formats, he missed having family time since he was always occupied with cricket, endorsements etc. He also opened up on various things that de-stress him and help him maintain his focus, which also includes pets.

"Once I quit international cricket, I wanted to spend a bit more time with my family. But, at that same time, to be mentally active, to have that passion to stay focussed — for me, I love farming, for me it is the motorbikes, I have started getting into vintage cars. These things de-stress me. If I am stressed, I would maybe go to the garage, spend a couple of hours over there and I will just be fine, I would come back," he said.

"I have always felt growing up with a pet, whether it is a cat or a dog... I prefer dogs though. They have unconditional love towards you. I have said this in a previous interview, even if I lose a game and come back, my dog greets me the same way," Dhoni further said.

Due to knee surgery last year, CSK have been managing Dhoni's workload throughout the ongoing season. He came out to bat when a handful of deliveries were left.

Yet he put up staggering figures in 14 matches. Dhoni amassed 161 runs at an average of 53.67 and a whopping strike rate of 220.55.After Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) sent CSK out of the race for playoffs, bowling consultant Eric Simons heaped praise on the veteran power-hitter.

"But I think anybody wants to speculate about his future, that is crazy. MS knows what he is going to do. I know that this year I have seen him hit the ball from the pre-tournament camp. So he is playing extremely well and he will make the decision. But he is a fantastic guy to be around. He has been fantastic to witness from the days I was with India and now with CSK. He is an incredible cricketer and an incredible individual in terms of his understanding of cricket and life. I think in many ways that what he passes on to guys is the incredible self-belief, never say die and a simple understanding of the game of cricket he can put it in simple words and I think that is one of the best things about him," Simons said in the post-match press conference.

As of now uncertainty still revolves around the future of Dhoni and only he can tell if he would feature in the next edition.

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