In his inimitable style, Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni used a post-match presentation to warn his bowlers for conceding far too many extras, jokingly indicating a captaincy change if the issue wasn’t fixed.

Playing their first IPL game at home in four years, CSK completed a 12-run win over Lucknow Super Giants, collecting their first points of the season. It ended up being a comfortable defence of a total of 217, although there were parts of the chase when LSG threatened to take the game away.

Kyle Mayers and Nicholas Pooran did not find enough support around but were helped along by patches of undisciplined bowling. CSK’s fast bowlers – Deepak Chahar, Tushar Deshpande, Rajvardhan Hangargekar – bowled 12 wides between them, while Moeen Ali added another. There were three no balls from Deshpande as well. In all, CSK conceded 18 extras.

When asked in the post-match presentation if there were any obvious areas for improvement, given that the side featured a rookie pace attack, Dhoni admitted that the quicks needed to identify their bowling areas better.

“I think you have said it yourself. It’s the fast bowling that needs to slightly improve,” said Dhoni. “They need to bowl according to the conditions. Maybe, even if it is on the flatter side, have fielders and try to bowl in the areas where you’re pushing the batsmen to hit over the fielders. What is important is to keep an eye.

“When we’re batting, keep an eye on what the opposition bowlers are doing, so it gives you an idea of what can be done, what can be my plan according to the strength I have and pace I have. I think that’s important.”

In his concluding line, he dished out a warning for his quicks.

“They will have to bowl maybe no no-balls and less wides because we’re bowling too many extra deliveries, or they will have to be ready to play under a new captain, at some point of time (smiles). It’ll be my second warning, and I’ll be off.”

An interpretation of Dhoni’s statement could be the fine imposed on captains for slow over-rate, a repeated violation of which could lead to a suspension for the skipper. In that case, CSK would have to look at a replacement leadership option.

This is Dhoni’s 14th IPL season as CSK captain, and is widely considered to be his last, although neither Dhoni nor the franchise has confirmed it officially.

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