The IPL 2024 is still more than a month away but the tournament has already picked up steam thanks to the one and only MS Dhoni. The Chennai Super Kings captain, for whom the 16th edition of the Indian Premier League promises to be his last, has started training in the nets in his vintage long locks, and as is the case with Dhoni, it’s enough to send the internet community into a complete meltdown. Dhoni, in yellow, with bat and pads, in full flow. For people of the ‘Yellove’ army, this is what dreams are made of.
However, for the first time, Dhoni’s bat made more news than the man himself. Last week, a picture of Dhoni training with a new ‘Prime Sports’ sticker was all the rage. It was a tribute from Dhoni to his childhood friend Paramjit Singh, who owns a sports company of that name, a fact very well and beautifully documented in the legendary India cricketer’s biopic ‘MS Dhoni, the Untold story’.
As Dhoni approaches the end of his cricket career, the former India captain used the sticker as a heartwarming gesture to Paramjit, who played a key role in his journey, including getting MSD his first bat sponsor. Even in 2019, before Dhoni made his final appearance for India, he played in the World Cup using bats with various logos; and hence, such a heartwarming act from the man with a big heart isn’t really surprising.
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What is a tad surprising though is Adam Gilchrist’s reaction to the whole development. The legendary Australia wicketkeeper, while doing commentary during the 2nd T20I between Australia and West Indies, referred to Prime Sports as ‘just a local store’. The discussion about Dhoni began when Michael Hussey mentioned the launch of IPL 2024.
IPL starting March 22?
“Got to reach India 10 days before the tournament starts. March, maybe 11th of March we are heading off. Looking forward to it. Great tournament, really is. Best players from all around the world. Best Indian players playing… it’s incredible. The crowds are unbelievable, the noise they make. The atmosphere in the ground. And MS Dhoni is back. He’s hitting balls in the nets already I reckon,” he said.
And that’s when Gilchrist took over, bringing up the bat sticker topic. “I saw him hitting some balls in the nets, MS Dhoni. There’s a new bat sticker on his bat. Just a local sports store of one of his schoolmates. Whack the company name on your bat just to give a boost to sales,” he said.
In a way, this marks the completion of a circle. At the start of his career, Dhoni had mentioned how he had modelled his batting around the destructive Gilchrist, considering the Aussie great one of his idols. And today as one is long retired and the other is on the verge of riding into the sunset, Gilchrist speaking about Dhoni’s greatness is the perfect finish to the story.