The ongoing IPL season began with the evergreen question if it will be MS Dhoni’s last season of professional cricket or not. Moeen Ali, Dhoni’s teammates at the Chennai Super Kings, reckons there is no reason for Dhoni to not play a few more seasons of the tournament.
"He could definitely play again next year," Moeen said talking to ESPNCricinfo. "The way he's playing, I don't think it'll be his batting that stops him from playing, even if it's in two, three years' time.
Dhoni hammered an unbeaten 32 off only 17 balls with three against Rajasthan Royals the other night. Although CSK lost by 3 runs, Dhoni’s knock brought the team closer than they should have after the asking rate touched 18 runs per over.
"I wasn't surprised at how he played [against Rajasthan]. I've been watching him in the nets, and he's been batting unbelievably well. It's just amazing to see from somebody at that age. It's not easy when you come in so late - people forget that a lot of the time, but that's what makes him so good at his role,” Moeen explained.
The England all-rounder has won an IPL title under MS Dhoni’s leadership (in 2021) as well as the ODI World Cup in 2019 under Eoin Morgan. One of the few cricketers to have played under two high-profile skippers, Moeen also derived parallels and differences between the two individuals.
"They're very similar in how clear and calm they are, but also very different. Their interests and all that are very different,” Moeen told ESPNCricinfo.
Shedding light on the differences, the left-handed batter said: "MS does most of his captaincy on gut feel, on the day. It could be a bit like that with Morgs too, but he was also very data-driven.”
"The best way I could describe MS is that he's a very normal person. Obviously, he has a massive following but there's no big-headedness or anything like that. He's very humble. You can talk to him about anything. He's just as you see him on TV: approachable, calm,” Moeen said further on playing with his skipper at CSK.
Moeen also spoke about his bowling and feels his bowling quality has dipped since his retirement from Test cricket in 2021.
"I actually feel like there's things I've been missing over the last couple of years," he explains. "I've just started to get it back again: a bit of rhythm in my action.
"At times in white-ball cricket, I've been a bit defensive. You always have an element of that, but it's more about the action. I'm trying to put more energy on the ball. I always thought I was trying to spin it, but I wasn't using my body as much. Everything's got to click and get aligned together.
"Sometimes that comes from actually not bowling enough. When I was playing Test matches, I always felt like I was bowling well in white-ball cricket. You can kind of lose that rhythm, I guess. I think I've got to have that mindset of still bowling with that same energy as I would have done in Test matches,” Moeen explained.
The 35-year old reckons the upcoming ODI World Cup in India will be his last 50-over World Cup and his bowling will be an important aspect of England’s campaign as defending champions.
"It's going to be really important that I do bowl, and that I get my bowling up to the best place it can be," Moeen says. "It's more than likely going to be my last 50-over World Cup, so I want to make sure it's a good one - both for myself and for the team. We want to defend the title, and spin could play a massive role in the World Cup."