"Stop Looking At Me And Bowl": CSK Throwdown Specialist Recalls What MS Dhoni Once Told Him
CSK throwdown specialist Kondappa Raj Palani narrated a story of him interacting with MS Dhoni after he had announced his retirement from international cricket.
Chennai Super Kings had a season to forget in IPL 2022 as the side failed to make it to the playoffs for the second time in their history and they finished the league stage at ninth spot. Nothing clicked for the four-time champions but MS Dhoni did find some form with the bat for CSK this season. Meanwhile, CSK throwdown specialist Kondappa Raj Palani narrated a story of him interacting with Dhoni after the wicketkeeper-batter had announced his international retirement.
"The first time, the camp started when Dhoni retired. I saw him for the first time then. He asked if you were the throwers. He asked me to throw balls at him. The team was pleased after that. The net bowlers were speaking about his retirement. After two or three weeks, he came to play sidearm. Everybody was arriving," Palani said on the Chennai Super Kings website.
"Fleming, Hussey and everyone said Dhoni was coming and asked me to bowl carefully. The first two balls were wides. The next ball was a full toss. Dhoni came to me and said 'Stop looking at me and bowl'. He asked me to play naturally. I then started bowling wherever he wanted and then he was very happy. He started addressing me every day since with my name," he added.
In IPL 2022, Dhoni registered 232 runs in 14 matches at an average of 33.14 with his highest score being 50 not out against Kolkata Knight Riders.
Before the start of IPL 2022, Dhoni had relinquished the captaincy and Ravindra Jadeja was made the skipper. However, eight matches into the season, Jadeja stepped down and Dhoni once again returned to lead the side.
Before CSK's last league stage fixture against Rajasthan Royals, Dhoni was once again asked about whether he will return to the cash-rich league next year.
"Definitely, it's a simple reason. It will be unfair to not play in Chennai and say thank you," Dhoni said at the toss. "Mumbai is one place where as a team and as an individual I have got a lot of love and affection but, you know, it won't be nice to the CSK fans. And, also hopefully next year, it will be an opportunity where the team will be travelling. So, it will be like a thank you to all the different places playing games at different venues.
"Whether it will be my last year or not that's a big question because we can't predict about something that's two years down the line but definitely, I will be working hard to come back strong next year," Dhoni said when asked about his future.