Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be back in the IPL next year. The World Cup-winning captain confirmed it himself during the toss Chennai Super Kings' final game of the season, against Kings XI Punjab, in Abu Dhabi, on Sunday.
Dhoni made the customary toss tradition a memorable one for his countess fans by confirming that he will be back in the yellow jersey next season.
"Definitely not," declared Dhoni when asked by commentator Danny Morrison if the game against Kings XI Punjab was his last for CSK's yellow jersey.
As expected, his terse response sent social media into a frenz.
However, the 39-year-old Dhoni was expected to play the IPL for at least two seasons after announcing his international retirement on August 15 after the T20 World Cup, to he held in Australia in October-November, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dhoni's final India appearance happened to be the 2019 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand.
CSK have had their worst season ever this year and are set to finish at the bottom of the table. It is the first time that the three-time champions have not made the play-offs, showing their remarkable consistency over the years.
The IPL next year is scheduled to be held in the usual April-May window but the dates could change due to the evolving COVID-19 situation around the world.
Dhoni has led CSK to three IPL titles -- in 2010, 2011 and 2018, while also winning the Champions League T20 titles in 2010 and 2014.
They hold the records of most appearances in the IPL final, having made it to the title clash eight times, while making it to the play-offs 10 times.
Even if Dhoni stays at CSK for another couple of years, they will need to overhaul majority of their squad including players like Shane Watson, Imran Tahir, Murali Vijay, Kedar Jadhav and Piyush Chawla, who have struggled to make an impact this year.