The opener of the Indian Premier League on September 19 will see Mahendra Singh Dhoni take the field after more than a year. Dhoni was last seen in a professional cricket match in the semifinal of the 2019 World Cup.
Dhoni's appearances for Chennai Super Kings this season add more value as the former Indian captain announced his international retirement last month.
Irfan Pathan, the former Indian bowler who has shared the dressing room with Dhoni for a large part of his career, has said that the wicketkeeper-batsman may return to his former self in the upcoming IPL.
Talking to the Times of India, Pathan said that the fans may see Dhoni that "we saw before he became the Indian captain."
"All the bowlers, please watch out! Be careful when you are bowling against Mahendra Singh Dhoni. We might see the Dhoni that we saw before he became the (India) captain," Pathan said.
"Before he became the captain, he didn't have that extra responsibility, so he used to play freely. As I say in Hindi, "Woh bebaak hoke khelega (he will play uninhibitedly)". If that happens, the bowlers will lose control. So it's very difficult for all the bowlers to get going against Dhoni."
MS Dhoni was a more aggressive batsman before he became the captain of the Indian team. Few of his most power-packed knocks -- including the 183* against Sri Lanka and the 148 against Pakistan, came before he became the captain of the side.
"Don't look at his age, don't look at that he hasn't played cricket for so long. Don't look at all those things," Pathan further said.
"He will be the player to watch out for this season and I am pretty certain as well that we might see Dhoni bludgeoning the bowlers and playing freely, the way he used to before he became the captain. I totally expect that."
Dhoni's CSK will take on Rohit Sharma's Mumbai Indians in the IPL 2020 opener in Abu Dhabi.