Dhoni vs Kohli as IPL T20 season begins with clash of two Indian legends | Cricket

CHENNAI, India — The Indian Premier League season begins Friday in Chennai when defending champions Chennai Super Kings take on fan favorites Royal Challengers Bengaluru.

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It will be a star-studded opening match of the ten-team tournament with MS Dhoni leading Chennai against Virat Kohli and Bengaluru.

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Kohli returns to action after missing international cricket for almost two months. He had missed India’s five-Test match against England due to the birth of his second child.

However, all eyes will be on Dhoni who returns to action after 10 months. After leading Chennai to their record fifth IPL title last year, he had announced his plans to retire at the end of the upcoming season.

“He is the greatest captain of all time, and I am very lucky to have spent time with him over the years,” Bengaluru skipper Faf du Plessis told host channel Star Sports . “It’s probably the most important thing in my career, my years in Chennai. It shaped me from a leadership perspective, just by observing MS. As a young leader, this has played an important role in my development.

Three-time runners-up Bengaluru have never won the IPL title – an oddity for their record-breaking star batter Kohli. Their women’s team only recently ended the franchise’s trophy drought, winning the 2024 IPL Women’s Trophy on Sunday.

Meanwhile, current Indian all-format captain Rohit Sharma has made way for a new skipper at Mumbai Indians. All-rounder Hardik Pandya was brought in through a high-profile player swap with the Gujarat Titans in November 2023.

Pandya, who played for five-time champions Mumbai from 2015 to 2021, had signed with Gujarat ahead of IPL 2022. He led the new franchise to a maiden title that season and they finished runners-up to Chennai in 2023.

Mumbai had won all five of their titles under Sharma, the last of which came in 2020. A barren three-year spell at the richest IPL franchise prompted a first regime change after 11 years, triggering a backlash massive among the Mumbai fan base ahead of the new season.

“This team has achieved all its glory under him, so it won’t be any different because he will always be there to help me if I need his help,” Pandya said at the pre-season conference in Mumbai. “From now on, it will be me who continues what he started. I know he will have his hand on my shoulder throughout the season.

Shubman Gill will take over as captain of the Gujarat Titans in what will be his first major stint in charge of the team.

In other major news ahead of the new IPL season, star wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has been declared fit to play cricket at the highest level.

Pant, 26, has been recovering from knee and back injuries over the past 15 months, and he is now returning to high-level cricket after the BCCI medical committee declared him fit for action. He has not played since his car accident in December 2022. He will lead the Delhi Capitals franchise again, after leading them to the IPL 2020 final.

22-year-old Yashasvi Jaiswal, who scored 712 runs against England in the five-Test series, will team up with Jos Buttler for Rajasthan Royals.

The Australian duo of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins had become the first and second most expensive IPL players in the auction held in December 2023.

Starc returns to the IPL for the first time since 2015, when he played for Royal Challengers Bengaluru. Kolkata Knight Riders paid $3 million for his services.

Earlier today, Sunrisers Hyderabad had shelled out nearly $2.5 million for Cummins and he will lead the franchise this season.

The final will take place on May 26.

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This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modification to the text.

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