This is a very important question now that MS Dhoni will be back in action with the commencement of the IPL 2023, and we shall take a look at it in this article.
The 11th edition of the Indian Premier League was an edition filled with narratives. Except for KL Rahul, every other team went with a proper gloveman who can do a job with the bat. Before the season began, no one expected Buttler, by opting to play in the IPL over the English county season. Dhoni seemed like his old self, hitting sixes at will, plotting miraculous run-chases with a mastery that seemed to have brought him success in the past couple of years. As many as five different keeper-bats scored more than 400 runs in a season, the first time that has happened in the league’s history. As mentioned earlier, this level of success for wicket-keeper batsmen is unheard of in the IPL. Dinesh Karthik and MS Dhoni, two veterans whose careers have intertwined closely over the past decade, showed they have a second wind in their sails.
Top contributors after 10 years of IPL, 2018 was the season this truly came to the fore. The elegance and style that he oozed with the bat in his hand, For RCB, Quinton de Kock and Parthiv Patel shared the load and produced mixed results. But what Rahul’s phenomenal season did was to prove one of the pre-season talking points – whether Kings XI Punjab made a recruiting blunder by not hiring a proper wicket-keeper — wrong. Two banned teams return, both making the playoffs and the team in yellow wins the title. While the former was a given, Uthappa’s emergence as a viable batsman-turned-keeper option is something fewer teams opt for these days. ‘He’s been hitting the ball as well as I have seen him hit,’ was a line repeated (almost verbatim) by analysts and teammates over the past seven weeks.
Given how successful the wicket-keeper batsmen have been in 2018, don’t be surprised if teams that did not have the necessary returns this year, tweak their strategy for the upcoming season. For someone who is a regular ’keeper, it’s hard to recollect an instance where his glovework let his team down, and that is to his massive credit. Not every team can find a Dhoni and hold on to him forever, but the rest have shown that it’s not tough to recruit smartly. His talent with the gloves and the bat was never under any doubt, but he added the one element that he has missed for most parts of his career: consistency. In fact, in the first 10 seasons combined, only nine times have wicket-keeper batsmen crossed 400 runs in a season, three of those happening in 2013 when there were 10 teams involved, and more matches were played. Interestingly, Dhoni and Uthappa are perhaps the most consistent performers in this role over the years. Hence this definitely proves MS Dhoni has been one of those players who could Bat well irrespective of how long it might have taken. But the fact that he has not had a very promising season with the bat lately after CSK’s return to the IPL it might not be a surprise even if he’s made to sit out of the playing 11 if He isn’t Captaining the side as the price at which CSK got Ben stokes is definitely not for a player but a very strong Candidate for the skipper’s Role as well. It would be interesting to see if MS Dhoni makes it into the playing 11 and the role he would take irrespective of whether him being the skipper or not.