MS Dhoni’s ‘Message’ At Start Of Season That Set Up Ajinkya Rahane For Success Against Mumbai Indians | Cricket News

MS Dhoni speaking at post-match presentation ceremony© BCCI/Sportzpics

Ajinkya Rahane was one of the stars for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in their dominant victory over Mumbai Indians (MI) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 on Saturday. Rahane’s stunning 19-ball half-century earned him many plaudits but it wasn’t all going right for the veteran batter until this game as he was sitting on the bench for the franchise’s first two. At the post-match presentation ceremony, CSK skipper MS Dhoni revealed the conversation he had with Rahane at the start of the season.

Rahane didn’t start in the first two matches for his new franchise but an apparent food poisoning to English all-rounder Moeen Ali gave him a chance and he grabbed it with a stunning 27-ball-61. But, the foundation of the knock was laid a while ago, with MS Dhoni lending him an important piece of advice that Rahane used to perfection against Mumbai.

“Me and Jinks (Rahane’s nickname in the cricket fraternity) spoke at the start of the season and I told him to play to his strengths, use your ability to manipulate the fields.

“I told him to go and enjoy, don’t take stress and we’ll back you. He batted well and he was not happy with the way he got out, that says it all. I think every game is important, you look at the problems in front of you and take it one step at a time, not look at the league table for now.” Wanted to maintain my shape, says Rahane

Rahane might have not been able to get game time in the first two games but that didn’t demoralise him. The veteran Indian star kept putting in the effort in training and was duly rewarded in the match at his ‘home stadium’, Wankhede.

“I had a good domestic season. I just try to maintain my shape. The focus on timing. It is all about you have to feel that you are playing a match. IPL is a long tournament and you never know when you get an opportunity. I always enjoy playing at Wankhede.

“Important thing about Mahi bhai and Fleming is they give freedom to everyone. Mahi bhai told me to prepare well,” Rahane said after the game.

It isn’t yet known for how long Moeen Ali will be out but Rahane would hope to keep hold of his spot, having played a crucial role in the team’s triumph against Rohit Sharma‘s side.

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