Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captain MS Dhoni sharpened his wicketkeeping in practice on the eve of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 opener against Gujarat Titans, amid reports of his availaibility for the match on Thursday.
Dhoni has been sporting a kneecap in practice of late. He wore it during CSK’s open training session for fans at the Chepauk on Monday. Asked about questions being raised about Dhoni not being available for the tournament opener, a CSK official who did not want to be named said, “There is no need for concern.”
It is also understood that Dhoni attended a few practice sessions in Chennai after taking painkiller injections.
Barring Dhoni, the Super Kings are short on regular wicketkeepers. Devon Conway, Ambati Rayudu and Ruturaj Gaikwad offer the four-time champion part-time options in Dhoni’s absence.
On Monday, Dhoni carried out an extended batting session as CSK was training at its home base at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai - a first in the presence of fans since the 2019 season.
The 41-year-old appeared stiff throughout the near-five-hour session at Chepauk. He was watchful as he warmed up with a stiff knee for his turn to bat. After putting on his gear, the former India captain spent about five minutes pressing his leg towards the ground to assess the condition of his knee. Dhoni was sporting a kneecap as he walked out to bat.
Dhoni worked against a slew of back-of-length deliveries and short balls from seamer Tushar Deshpande. The India legend struggled while playing flat-batted strokes across the line. However, the CSK talisman was in his element against the fuller deliveries, which he duly fired into the stands for sixes and fours with his powerful biceps.
In his second essay of the evening, Dhoni attempted to tap the ball between deep square-leg and mid-wicket but was often limping as he completed ones and twos between the stumps. Dhoni eventually lined up for a session against the sidearm throws before winding up the session.
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