Decoding the Mahi's Mind...

#DefinitelyNot

was one of the top trending tweets on the day where people thought that Mahi might have played his last game ever.


Well. Definitely Not!

Dhoni at the toss of CSK vs KXIP. Pic credits: Hotstar

On being asked, "Could this be MSD, your last game ever in yellow?" by Danny Morrison at the toss on CSK's last league match, Dhoni cool-as-ever responded with the words that set the trend for the day.


That's not the only instance where it is used.


At the post-match presentation, when the voice of cricket, Harsha Bhogle jested, "Good to see, got some jerseys left. Noticed everyone's sneaking one of yours."


Dhoni responded with these witty words, "Maybe they thought I am retiring. Retired from international cricket. Maybe they thought I will retire from the shortest format also."


To which Harsha meticulously added, "Definitely Not, right?" as if to reinforce the already confirmed news.


Grinning widely, Mahi reaffirmed by stating, "Definitely Not."


It's difficult to know what goes inside the mind of Mahi.


When we were least expecting his retirement although having a doubt on the back of our minds, he mildly announced it through an IGTV video.


Right when we were thinking that he might be playing the last game ever, his words firmly made a statement that he isn't anytime soon.


So, ever wondered what goes on inside the mind of our Mahi? Don't worry. With this blog, you will get a glimpse of it.

Disclaimer: I was neither a true die-hard fan of MSD nor a hater. This blog piece has been written by donning the hat of a cricket analyst and was not meant to hurt anyone's sentiments.

If you have come this far, you might have already known the impact the man has left on the cricket arena. Just to outline the achievements: he's the only captain to have a World T20, World Cup, and a champions trophy under his belt; took India to No.1 in the test standings; successfully finished countless matches by staying till the end. What's more left to achieve?

After much deliberation, one can understand the thinking behind his international retirement. With the outbreak of novel coronavirus, life has changed for everyone. If the IPL and the T20 World Cup in Australia went ahead as planned, we could have seen him donning the blue for one last time and a possible farewell from the team and the BCCI, even if Mahi didn't want it.


Seeing Dhoni over the many years, one can put the puzzle pieces together. Retiring from Test cricket in 2014 to focus more on the 2015 world cup; Handing the captaincy reins to Virat Kohli in early 2017 to have the then champions trophy as a preparatory stunt for the 2019 world cup; And Retiring from international cricket in 2020 to focus on 'home inside the home' after being on a sabbatical for more than a year.


To put it bluntly, Indian cricket is in safe hands currently but what about his 'home inside the home', the Chennai Super Kings?


The relationship between the then ICC Chairman and BCCI President, N Srinivasan, and Mahi is no news to the cricket fraternity. Srinivasan considers Dhoni to that of a son. After forgettable outings in the tours of England and Australia in 2011-12, the cricketing world criticized Dhoni and wanted him to be removed from the captaincy role. But Srinivasan stuck with him through the thick and thin.

Dejected Mahi in 2011 england tour. Pic credits: GettyImages

This lasting bond did wonders as India had seen more good times than bad under the reins of Mahi: The 2013 champions trophy triumph, Reaching 2014 world t20 finals, Semi-finals in 2015 world cup when no one expected them to do that, and 2016 world t20 semi-finals.


With this info in mind, one can clearly see the plans Mahi has for the betterment of one of the most celebrated franchises in the history of IPL, Chennai Super Kings.


The mediocre campaign CSK had this year only adds more fuel to his already fuelled ambitions. This can be confirmed (if needed) from the aforementioned post-match conference.


On being asked, "What's the message to the fans?", Dhoni assertively replied, "We'll come back strong, that's what we are known for."


Expect a fierce comeback when they turn out next season which is only 6 months away from now.


Well, we are sure that he'll be the leader-player when they turn out next year. But when is the end of the road for Mahi?


Going on his own terms, irrespective of the 2021 season results, Mahi is most probably going to hang up his boots next year itself. Also, keep an eye on the auction (if it happens) next year as CSK is looking to build its core again. We might see a hot-blooded wicketkeeper being nurtured into the group.


In short words, the playing days are almost certain to come to an end in 2021 for Dhoni, with one more year, staying as a mentor/leader figure in the group till 2022.


After that, we might not see him ever again in the cricketing action as he has his eyes also set on the Indian Military to serve. Don't forget to add the cute Ziva to the mix too!