Chennai Super Kings players and management had an interaction with the press at an IPL event on eve of their match against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Wednesday, and the star of the show was a jovial MS Dhoni, who fielded questions with aplomb – both on cricketing and non-cricketing matters.
His side Chennai Super Kings are the most successful side in the 7-year history of the IPL, and have started the eighth season on the right footing as well – winning 3 out of their 4 matches played so far. MS Dhoni explained that the ‘secret’ of the franchise’s success is that young unfancied players continue to rise up to the occasion for them, naming Mohit Sharma and Ishwar Pandey as recent examples.
Dhoni also had words of praise for Rajasthan Royals’ 43-year-old leg spinner Pravin Tambe – the prodigy who recognition eluded for the length of his career, only to shower down on him in his twilight years. “Where you come from, what you have done before, these things do not matter on the biggest stage. If you have enough desire, nothing can restrict you.”
Fatherhood changes life: Dhoni
On his recent fatherhood, Dhoni said, “It does change life. It was very hard to not see my daughter for two months when we were playing in the World Cup. She has only just started to recognise me. She does not care about anything – when she wants to cry, she cries.”
Dhoni also volunteered the opinion that children these days spend more time on virtual games than outdoor games, something he hopes will change, playing out an imaginary conversation with a child to illustrate his point –
‘What is your favourite sport?
‘So do you bat or bowl?’
Married life is happiness: Raina
Suresh Raina was quizzed on his marriage, the second greatly followed family event in Indian cricket circles, and Raina played all questions with a straight bat.
“I am very happy. Family means happiness. She is a very nice girl.”
On the questioner pointing out that he thought he saw a blush on Raina’s face, he added, “She is calling me now, but I am not picking up.”
Raina was also asked to speak a phrase imitating Chennai cult hero Rajnikanth, a request which he obliged after some hesitation – Dhoni warning Raina meanwhile that he would be in trouble if Rajnikanth did not like his effort.
The players threw catches into the gathered crowd, almost all of which slipped through the fans’ and reporters’ fingers, prompting Dhoni to waggle his finger in jest and say, “From now on when a player drops a catch, don’t abuse him.”
2nd placed Chennai Super Kings take on last-placed Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday.