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‘Sir, we have not played for 4-5 months’ – How MS Dhoni convinced CSK officials to hold Chennai camp before IPL 2020

MS Dhoni, the captain of the Chennai Super Kings, convinced the CEO Kasi Viswanathan that they must hold a camp in Chennai before leaving for Dubai for IPL 2020 as the players had not played any form of cricket for the last four to five months. Many Chennai Super Kings players attended the camp but some like Ravindra Jadeja and Harbhajan Singh missed it due to personal reasons.

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‘Sir, we have not played for 4-5 months’ – How MS Dhoni convinced CSK officials to hold Chennai camp before IPL 2020
MS Dhoni had requested Chennai Super Kings CEO Kasi Viswanathan to organise the camp in Chepauk as the players had not played any form of cricket for the last four to five months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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    The Indian cricket team players had not played any form of cricket for the last 4-5 months due to the coronavirus pandemic. MS Dhoni, who retired from international cricket on August 15, had not played any cricket since July 2019 after the end of the ICC Cricket World Cup. Suresh Raina also had not played any form of cricket for more than six months. With IPL 2020 nearing, the teams were missing some crucial practice. It was at this stage that Chennai Super Kings and MS Dhoni decided to come up with a five-day camp in Chepauk before leaving for Dubai for the Indian Premier League.

    In a video uploaded by the Chennai Super Kings franchise, the dynamics of organizing the camp were shown. There were many staff in PPE kits who were coming to set up the nets. Players like Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Karn Sharma, Murali Vijay as well as bowling coach L Balaji were present. However, Chennai Super Kings CEO Kasi Viswanathan revealed that the idea of the camp in Chepauk was actually MS Dhoni’s.

    “Dhoni said ‘sir, we have not played for nearly 4-5 months. All of us need to get together in Chennai. We should be in a bio-bubble in Chennai so that we get used to that when we land in Dubai’. And also it helped in the boys getting in shape. This camp, though we had some reservations, has really helped. I am very happy we were able to host the camp,” Viswanathan said.

    Help in the long run

    In the video, Ambati Rayudu said this camp will help the team immensely as they will acclimatize well in Dubai where they will have to undergo a six-day quarantine period. Deepak Chahar, who is making a comeback after being ruled out for close to six months due to a stress fracture in his back, said it was a good thing that this camp was organised.

    “We are all on the same page. No one has played for five months. We will be better. The more you practice before the tournament the better you become. Chennai Super Kings managed to pull this camp off despite the situation. Going forward, this will help us a lot. Bala bhai (L Balaji) has always helped me out and he is someone who has the experience of playing in the IPL. He advised me a lot and he suggested that I go easy on the bowling front,” Chahar said.

    With the international retirement of MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina, there is a feeling that they will unleash a different level of play in IPL 2020 and Chahar was confident that both Raina and Dhoni will play differently. “They will give their best and they will be in a different frame of mind. They will play more freely,”  reckoned Chahar.

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