MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni
AFP

After 436 days, fans will finally witness Mahendra Singh Dhoni back in action as Thala will lead Chennai Super Kings in the clash against Rohit Sharma's Mumbai Indians in the tournament opener of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The IPL, which will commence across three venues in the United Arab Emirates, was indefinitely postponed back in March due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, thereby pushing back Dhoni's much-awaited return to cricket.

The 39-year-old has been on a sabbatical ever since India's loss against New Zealand in the semi-finals of the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

Many things have happened since then. Dhoni was excluded from Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) annual contract list. It led to many speculations about the former skipper hanging up his gloves.

Fans were eager to see Thala back in action in the IPL which was originally scheduled to commence from March 29, but thanks to the pandemic, it was postponed, and with that Dhoni's comeback was pushed further.

As months passed with players enjoying their family time in the lockdown, those speculations turned to reality. On August 15, 2020, Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket. Now, 34 days later, the CSK skipper will be back in action for the first time since he walked back to the pavilion following a run-out in Manchester.

Meanwhile, CSK will miss the likes of Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh. However, MS Dhoni's team is probably the most experienced side in the tournament. Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja are some of the best players in the format, and with MS Dhoni's brilliant captaincy, CSK is a force to reckon with.

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