Chennai Super Kings (CSK) became the most successful team in the Indian Premier League 2023 (IPL) as they clinched the trophy for the record-leveling fifth time on Tuesday midnight (May 29). MS Dhoni-led side managed to chase the 171-run target in the rain-interrupted final against Gujarat Titans (GT) in 15 overs with Ravindra Jadeja stealing the show by smashing winning runs on the innings' last delivery. But all the eyes were on skipper Dhoni when he took the stage during the post-match presentation and broke his silence on his retirement plans.
Dhoni, 41, had a stage set to announce his retirement as he bagged the IPL trophy and enjoyed a sensational season with a bat as well. But the former Indian captain announced that he will be returning next year to play at least one more season but also added that only if his body allows it. He stated that he owe another season to his fans as they stunned him with unparalleled love and affection this year.
"If you see circumstantially this is the best time for me to announce retirement," Dhoni said in the post-match presentation "But the amount of love and affection I've been shown wherever I've been this year, the easy thing for me would be to say, 'Thank you very much'. But the tough thing for me is to work hard for another nine months and come back and play at least one more season of IPL. But a lot depends on the body, I have six-seven months to decide and it will be more like a gift from my side [to the fans]. It's not easy for me but the way they've shown their love and affection, that's something I need to do for them.
Dhoni also revealed his emotional side as he is known for keeping his feeling to himself. When Harsha Bhogle recalled Dhoni's emotional moment this season, Dhoni accepted that he got emotional because he is aware of playing in the last stages of his IPL career.
"You do get emotional for a simple fact that it's the last part of my career and I think it started over here when I was playing the first game [of IPL 2023]. I just walked out and the full house was chanting my name. My eyes filled with [tears] and I just stood there in the dugout for a while, and I took my time and I realised that I want to enjoy it and not take the pressure. I think it was the same thing in Chennai, when I played my last game there, but it will be good to come back and play whatever I can."
Narendra Modi Stadium erupted in celebration, perhaps louder than CSK's winning moment, when Dhoni confirmed his return for the next season. Fans were waiting to learn an official update with many predicting IPL 2023 being Dhoni's last season. Dhoni's incredible fans displayed their love for the legendary wicketkeeper throughout this season and made it noticed by filling every IPL 2023 venue with yellow color.