Bengaluru, April 13: The 12th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will go down in history as one of the most eventful ones in the 11-year history of the cash-rich T20 tournament.
From Ravichandran Ashwin's 'Mankading' to Andre Russell's robotic hitting, there are enough reasons already that have made the ongoing edition a noisy one.
However, amidst the din, one unusual thing has remained the carpet is Chennai Super Kings' (CSK) captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's criticism of the wicket at home ground MA Chidambaram Stadium, despite his team winning all games played there so far.
For many, it seemed puzzling. While it is still understandable if the losing opponent captains criticise the slow pitch that the venue has got this year but to hear Dhoni, the winning captain, coming down hard on the surface on more than one occasion indeed has raised eyebrows. Is there something hidden in Dhoni's criticism? Is he not happy with his home crew for not getting a belter of a wicket?
There could be a diplomatic win for the veteran captain in this issue. On one hand, he is not happy for not getting the type of surface that would see his batsmen imitating the big hitting that some other teams are doing and expressing his disappointment over it.
The CSK's highest score so far has been 175 which is less than some other teams' high scores (even the all-losing Royal Challengers Bangalore have crossed 200 in this tournament), but the interesting bit is that the CSK's highest total have come on the Chennai surface itself. While in the three away games they have played so far, the CSK's highest score is 155 for six scored against Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur on Thursday (April 11).
On the other hand, Dhoni is also trying to put across the message that his team is capable of winning regularly even if it doesn't get the pitch of its preference.
Dhoni has been particularly critical of the pitch when his team is given low targets (71 by RCB and 109 by Kolkata Knight Riders) for that doesn't allow the CSK batsmen to remain in the race for the Orange Cap winners. Given the fact that T20 is a batsman's game, dull low-scoring wins are certainly not something that captains appreciate, even when they are winning.
The CSK have now won 16 of their last 17 matches at home. And as a captain who has made winning a habit, there is more to than just winning now for Dhoni. The wicket-keeper-batsman also wants to ensure that the yellow jerseys' supporters at home get to see some absorbing fireworks.
However, for the experts, the CSK's batting performance on the Chennai wicket is something that speaks heavily about their preparation in the hunt of the record fourth title.
Unlike the opponents who are thinking they are being fooled by spinners on a slow wicket, the CSK batters have prepared themselves well to negotiate slow bowling and have some top-class spin players in their batting order. The presence of the likes of Faf du Plessis in their ranks have ensured that their batting is that much stronger against slow bowling and it is one major reason why the CSK are easily beating their opponents at home.
However, Dhoni is still not satisfied, for he is thinking about the game's overall image. That speaks about the statesman in him.