It was a bit symbolic that a helicopter flew overhead, as MS Dhoni was getting ready for his batting stint at the Chennai Super Kings nets on Thursday. The CSK media team captured it and posted the video on their Twitter handle.
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There could be a debate about the original inventor of the helicopter shot, for the great Gundappa Viswanath played a few of that variety on his way to a match-winning hundred against Australia on a treacherous MCG pitch in 1980-81. But there’s no argument that Dhoni has made the shot globally popular.
According to a CSK insider, the helicopter shot is not something that Dhoni practises a great deal at the nets. It comes naturally to him, but it is learnt that the former captain has been putting in extra hours at the nets this season. He has started off well, scoring 89 runs in three matches, including two not-outs and a half-century, and a strike-rate north of 123. More importantly, unlike last year’s IPL, he is hitting the ball well.
Calling him former captain could be a tad misleading though, for Dhoni is still playing the lead, without undermining Ravindra Jadeja’s authority, something he will never do. But after three straight defeats, the new skipper, who is learning on the job, is leaning more heavily on his predecessor. The Indian Express understands that Dhoni has told the team to stick to the process and following that, results will take care of themselves. It is also learnt that he had a few encouraging words for Ruturaj Gaikwad, telling him to continue with his natural game without thinking too much about a slow start. The young opener, the Orange Cap holder last season, has scored two runs in three games this term, but the team is backing him to come good.
This is a fresh season. Some CSK thoroughbreds have been offloaded. New players have come and the team management knows that some time is needed to gel perfectly. CSK’s next game is against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday and Adam Milne is expected to return to the playing eleven after recovering from an injury. Also, there’s a feeling in the camp that the team’s spin unit will start to make its presence felt as the tournament progresses. With peak summer approaching and the pitches getting weary, conditions would gradually become favourable for CSK to bring out their famed spin-choke.