Chennai was the first to make it to the finals of this year’s IPL and this also happens to be their 9th final in IPL history. No other team can match Chennai in their ability to consistently make it to the finals of the IPL.
MS Dhoni has been associated with the Chennai Super Kings since the inception of the Indian Premier League. He has been captaining the franchise since 2008 and has successfully guided them towards three IPL titles and managed to reach 11 IPL playoffs. In the India jersey too, he has seen enormous success. He has won every ICC trophy that was there to be won. He helped India lift the world cup after 28 years. He is rated as one of the best captains India has ever seen and probably the best white-ball finisher the country has produced.
Over the years, Dhoni has captained numerous players and played with them at various levels. It could have been the domestic level, national team, or franchise cricket. Many of his teammates and contemporaries have now retired and taken on the job coaching. Coincidentally, a few of the players he shared the dressing room as teammates have also become his coach later in his career. We look at 4 such players.
1. Stephen Fleming
One of the best talents to have come out of New Zealand is Stephen Fleming. He captained his country and was part of the CSK franchise in 2008. After the inaugural season, he was appointed as their coach in 2009. He has coached them ever since. In the two years that they were suspended, he captained Rising Pune Supergiants which was the franchise Dhoni moved to. Their coordination and camaraderie are so good that it has made CSK a force to reckon with.
2. Lakshmipathy Balaji
The Indian pacer played for CSK from 2008-2010. He last played in the IPL in 2014 and was thereafter picked by various franchises as bowling coach in 2017. In 2018, CSK appointed him as the bowling coach. Balaji played for India from 2003 to 2009 in white-ball cricket and Dhoni captained him for a significant part of the time. He made a comeback in the T20 team in 2012 and that too was under the captaincy of Dhoni.
3. Anil Kumble
The world’s third-highest wicket-taker is the legendary Indian spinner, Kumble. He played 132 tests for India from 1990 to 2008 and picked up 619 wickets. Between 2005-08, Dhoni was the wicketkeeper in all formats and Kumble also played international cricket. Kumble came back as India’s coach in 2016 and at that time Dhoni was still the white ball captain of the team.
4. Rajiv Kumar
Kumar was a right-handed batsman and played for Bihar as well as Jharkhand. His first-class career lasted for a good 15 years from 1994-95 to 2010-11. He led Dhoni in numerous first-class matches when they were both parts of the Jharkhand team. he shared a great bond with Dhoni at that time also. He was appointed as CSK’s fielding coach in 2017 and continues to hold positions to this day.