Chennai Super Kings Unveil Etihad Airways as New Sponsor and MS Dhoni’s Return to IPL Preparations

In a significant development, five-time Indian Premier League (IPL) champions, the Chennai Super Kings (CSK), have inked a new sponsorship deal with the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, Etihad Airways. The collaboration was officially announced on Thursday, and fans were treated to a sneak peek of CSK’s jersey for the upcoming season during the event.

Social media platforms were flooded with viral pictures and videos showcasing CSK players donning the Etihad Airways logo on the back of their jerseys. A particularly eagerly awaited moment was the unveiling of CSK captain MS Dhoni’s jersey in a viral video from the event.

With the IPL season on the horizon, MS Dhoni, who announced his international retirement in August 2020, has been diligently preparing for his return to action. His only active cricketing involvement is with CSK in the IPL, where he led the team to a record-equalling fifth title last season with a thrilling victory over the Gujarat Titans in the final held in Ahmedabad.

Despite the retirement from international cricket, Dhoni remains a crucial figure for CSK, and the uncertainty surrounding his future in the IPL has kept fans guessing. CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan added to the intrigue by stating that only Dhoni could provide clarity on whether this season would be his last.

“That I do not know. See, as far as the captain is concerned, he will answer you directly. He does not tell us what he is going to do,” Viswanathan stated, as quoted by The Indian Express.

Dhoni, who underwent knee surgery in early June, is currently in the rehabilitation phase. CSK’s CEO expressed confidence in Dhoni’s fitness, stating, “He is doing well now. He has started his rehab. He started working in the gym. And, probably in another 10 days, he’ll start working in the nets also.”

Looking to build on their IPL success, CSK made strategic moves during the Players Auction in Dubai on December 19. The MS Dhoni-led side acquired six players, with New Zealand all-rounder Daryl Mitchell emerging as their most expensive buy at Rs 14 crore. CSK surprised many by securing the uncapped Indian batter Sameer Rizvi for Rs 8.4 crore. The team also retained India all-rounder Shardul Thakur after his release from KKR.

As CSK gears up for the IPL 2024 season with a bolstered squad and a new sponsor in Etihad Airways, the anticipation among fans is palpable. The synergy between the seasoned leadership of MS Dhoni and the fresh talent injected into the team sets the stage for another exciting chapter in CSK’s storied IPL journey.

With the unveiling of the Etihad Airways partnership and the glimpses of the upcoming season’s jersey, the CSK faithful are eagerly counting down the days until the cricketing extravaganza unfolds.