It has been more than two years since legendary cricketer MS Dhoni bid farewell to international cricket as one of the greatest captains in the history of the game. The only captain to win three major ICC trophies, the Ranchi stalwart recorded his final appearance during the 2019 World Cup when Virat Kohli-led Team India squared off against Kane Williamson’s New Zealand in the famous semi-final showdown at Old Trafford.

Dhoni, who is also the beating heart of Indian Premier League (IPL) giants Chennai Super Kings (CSK), is expected to call time on his illustrious T20 career after the forthcoming seasons of the cash-rich league. Known for his tactical acumen, it’s an open secret that the CSK skipper doesn’t like orchestrating long meetings with teammates. According to ex-India opener Parthiv Patel, CSK’s team meeting conducted by Dhoni only lasted for 2 minutes in the 2008 IPL final.

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In conversation with ex-India cricketer Aakash Chopra, rising talent Ruturaj Gaikwad recently opened up about learning some tricks of the trade from Thala Dhoni at the CSK camp. “All the players gelled really well. Everyone used to be a little quiet for 10–15 mins after losing a game. But Mahi bhai…after coming back from the presentation, would tell us, ‘Relax boys, it happens.’,” CSK opener Gaikwad told Chopra during the special interaction.

“You tend to relax a little bit after hearing that. MS Dhoni taught me how to stay neutral when things aren’t going your way. And even when you are on the winning side, it is important to stay neutral,” Gaikwad added. Indian opener Gaikwad received his maiden India call-up after his impressive run for CSK in the world’s richest T20 league.

Gaikwad slammed his maiden IPL century and the star batter also finished the season as the tournament’s leading run-getter in 2021. The Indian opener smashed 635 runs for CSK in IPL 2021 to secure the prestigious Orange Cap. Dhoni-led CSK ended up lifting their fourth IPL crown in 2021. After a making a dreadful start in their title-defending season, Dhoni replaced Ravindra Jadeja as CSK’s captain last year.

“Win or lose, MS Dhoni made sure that the team atmosphere remained the same. Yes, there was surely a lot of disappointment, but no negativity. There was no blame game. A lot of times when you keep on losing, different groups are formed within the team. But that didn’t happen in CSK,” Gaikwad added. The 40-year-old will lead the Yellow Brigade in the 2023 edition of the celebrated tournament.

Interestingly, Gaikwad also admitted that Dhoni’s team meetings are ridiculously short at CSK. “MS Dhoni’s meetings are usually very short. Even after losing, the longest meeting would be around two or three minutes. He would tell us that there is a dinner plan, so make sure everyone is ready for it. He would make us understand that it isn’t possible for CSK to win each and every time,” he concluded. Opener Gaikwad has amassed 1207 runs for Dhoni-led CSK in 36 IPL matches.



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