A lot has been said and written about the IPL fixing and betting scandal that saw Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings being banned from participation in the 2016 and 2017 season. In the newly released documentary ‘Roar of the Lions’ on a leading OTT platform, Dhoni addressed the entire emotion that he and the team went through from the moment the investigation into the scandal started to CSK’s return to the IPL in 2018.
In the first episode of the 5-part documentary, Dhoni spoke about the charges that were levied on the team and how the entire team handled all the negative attention from media as well as the fans during the ‘most testing phase of his career’. The episode started with Mahi calling it the most depressing phase of his career, after the 2007 ICC World Cup debacle where India were knocked out in the group stage. While the feeling in both was equally low, the 2013 scenario with CSK was very different.
Former and current Chennai Super Kings members like Michael Hussey, Ravindra Jadeja, N Srinivasan, Suresh Raina, Ayaz Menon admitted being shocked over the developments leading to the franchise being suspended. While there were allegations on Dhoni as well, the Ranchi-born cricketer said that he urged his players to not let the off-field happenings affect their performances on the field.
About his own take on the whole subject, Dhoni said: “Whatever I am today, whatever I have achieved is because of cricket. So the biggest crime that I can commit personally is not murder but match-fixing. It is not something that one person can do alone. If my name is involved in such a thing, it has a bigger impact. If people think a match is fixed based on the improbability of an outcome, then people lose their faith in cricket. I don’t think ever in my life I would deal with something that is harder than this.”
About the wrongdoings from the players’ part, Dhoni questioned as to why were the players being blamed for what happened when no fault of the players were found.
“It was a mixed feeling then because you take a lot of things personally and, as a captain, question what did the team do wrong. Yes there was wrongdoing but were players or team members involved in this? What mistake did we make that we have to go through all of that?” he asked.
The return of CSK in 2018 where they were being called ‘Dad’s team’ for featuring a majority of 30+ players and Dhoni choking while speaking on the team’s return, were shown towards the end of the show, with more on the same expected in the next episodes.