MS Dhoni led CSK to an emotional comeback victory in the IPL, picking out a team that not many agreed upon but gradually fell in line with after Dhoni started extracting the best out of them.
All CSK players stepped up during different times of the tournament and helped the Chennai fracnhise script one of the best comeback wins that our game has seen.
A lot of it also had to do with how Dhoni used himself in that CSK middle order, giving himself more time in the middle and exploding towards the end of the innings.
For a long time in the IPL, MS Dhoni was saving himself for the last 3-4 overs, something that affected his ‘impact potential’. However, this time MS Dhoni ensured that CSK got a batting line up that allowed him to go in with good 8 overs left.
Dhoni also spoke about how he stepped up his fitness game to be of relevance in limited overs cricket.
“Fitness part started a few years back, when I left Test cricket, when it comes to this IPL (consciousness about fitness) started the day we sat to make our team. I was sure in my mind that I wanted to bat up the order, because with age, me batting down the order was like quick sand,” Dhoni said in an interview.
“I wanted to make it sure that I wanted to take the responsibility of winning the game, but I was coming so down the order, that I was not giving time to myself.” he added.
Dhoni emphasised on the fact how he setup a team that batted deep, so as to help him express himself in the middle.
“So it was more like quick sand, the more I flutter, the deeper I would go. So I said I want to make a team where we bat deep, that gives me a chance to bat up the order, and to me up the order doesn’t mean I want to bat at 3, 4 or 5, it’s the number of overs.
“Yes when (Ambati) started to bat at 4, I have to give him that berth, because he was almost the leading scorer for us. So if he has to come down and bat for the requirement of team, then he needs to bat at number 4 because he was ideally suited for that position.” he said.
So I said I want to bat up, so when I go into bat I would like to aggressive, so that even if I get out, it gives others a chance to reinvent themselves about finishing the game, what they need to do, if they are under pressure and all of that,” he said
Dhoni acknowledged the fact that CSK did not actually have to use that long batting order, as the top order did the job on most occasions.
“Fortunately we did not use our batting order to the full extent in the whole of IPL because Watson, Rayudu, Raina, me, Bravo, we all kept scoring runs and that really helped us”
“But my planning right from the start was sure to make a team, which bats deep, everybody should be able to bat, and that gives me an opportunity to go out there and express myself.” Dhoni said.