Mahendra Singh Dhoni feels ‘different’ about captaining a new team in the Indian Premier League for the first time in eight years and says he has not moved on from his days at the now suspended Chennai Super Kings.
“I would be lying if I say I have moved on. That is the special part of being a human being. There is got to be an emotional connect after eight years (with CSK),” said Dhoni at the jersey launch of his new team, the Rising Pune Supergiants.
Usually calm and composed on the field, Dhoni got a tad emotional when asked about the team he led since the inception of the IPL.
“If you want me to be politically correct, that is not how I am. After eight years of IPL, it feels very different to play for any other team. All of a sudden if you want me to say that I am very excited to play for a new team, don’t give credit to CSK and the fans for the love and affection they have given us, it will be wrong.
“But as a professional, I would like to thank the Pune team for taking me. Of course there will be added responsibility as captain but as a professional we are supposed to do the job with more than 100 hundred percent commitment. And that is what we will try to do,” said the India limited-overs captain, a day after leading the team to a T20 series win over Sri Lanka.
Dhoni said he will miss playing alongside the likes of Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Brendon McCullum before exuding confidence in the players picked for the new team.
“There are a lot of players we will miss. We were together for eight years, our core group was the same. We were so consistent and our strength was that we played as a team. We have taken some former CSK players but then at the auction, the two new teams were expected to do most of the buying. If you look at the six other franchisees, they have a settled lot.
Therefore, the pressure will be on the new franchise,” he felt.
On playing against longtime India and CSK teammate Raina, who will captain the other new team Gujarat Lions, Dhoni said: “We all know how destructive Raina is. At the same time, he will just not be playing me and us, he will be playing against the other teams too. He will be trying is best to do well. We have to make sure that we do the job that is expected from us.”
The maverick Kevin Pietersen is also part of the Pune unit. Asked about his plans to deal with former England batsman, Dhoni said “we will wait and watch”.
“Every player will have a role in the team. There is a basic way every cricketer plays. KP is fantastic, somebody who is aggressive and expressive on the field. Not only that, he like other seniors, has an added responsibility to groom the youngsters. We will have to wait and watch (about KP’s behaviour) but I don’t think it will be an issue,” added Dhoni.