CHENNAI: MS Dhoni may not be at the peak of his powers, but the former Indian skipper continues to rule the hearts as was the case when he walked in to Chepauk ahead of the start of the second edition of Tamil Nadu Premier League on Saturday. In a chat with the TNPL website, Dhoni spoke on how one trains for a league such as TNPL, his fond memories of the Chennai Super Kings and more.Excerpts:
How do you train the youngsters to prepare for a league like the TNPL?
Now that this is the second season of the league, last season they’d have got a glimpse of what they will encounter. I do not see the TNPL as a district league. The franchise format is that of districts, but the best of players of Tamil Nadu play together under circumstances that are very different, in front of people who are coming to watch cricket. Last year, all the games got a lot of attendance. Cricket will remain the same, but the pressure of playing in front of people will change. They now know the challenges and a lot of players would have prepared according to the demands of the game. That is why I feel this season will be even more interesting and the kind of buzz that was created last season will increase. So overall the players will be ready. Once you have played one season, automatically your game improves the next season.
How do you keep yourself fit?
Fitness is a major part of any sport today whether it is skill-oriented or endurance-oriented sport. It is the food that is more important than the training. So, if you have right kind of food and supplement it with the training, you can get much more out of yourself. Food intake is the main thing apart from training. These days, the players get educated about what they need to do. Most of the players learn from the seniors and there will be physios to assist you. There is a lot of guidance by fellow cricketers and that is why I feel even in TNPL when lot of players would have gone back to their respective districts, they would have done a lot of fitness work to realise their fitness needs to be at par.
Chennai Super Kings is coming back. What does that mean to the Indian Premier League?
CSK has the biggest fan following. In the last two years, we were not there but the way the fans supported us, it was like they were waiting for CSK to come back. There was a Test match in the middle, but we haven’t played any limited-overs cricket here. So I feel there is a lot of buzz when it comes to the fans over here. A lot of fans are waiting for the team to come and play at Chepauk. Today, at the opening ceremony, we may get a glimpse of that. This is the first time I am coming back to the ground after two years, so I think it will be pretty interesting.
What are your fond memories of CSK?