The wait is finally over for all the Mahendra Singh Dhoni fans around the world as he is back to where he belongs – on a cricket pitch. After nearly an eight-month sabbatical from the game, Dhoni walked down towards the 22-yard strip of M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Monday evening. The CSK skipper hit the nets to kick-start his preparations for the upcoming edition of Indian Premier League (IPL), beginning March 29.

Chennai Super Kings’ official Twitter handle shared a video of Dhoni taking his guard with the crowd in the background chanting his name vociferously. “A grand waltz to take guard! #StartTheWhistles #SuperTraining,” CSK tweeted. The 38-year-old stalwart obliged his fans with some lusty blows during the net session.

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Dhoni returned to training amid never-ending speculation on his career, which has been on hold since last year’s ICC Cricket ODI World Cup. The talismanic wicket-keeper batsman, who led India to two world titles, got down to work with some other team members. CSK’s full camp will begin on March 19.

After jogging around for a while and doing some stretching, Dhoni put on his pads and launched a few big hits in his trademark style.

Dhoni has not played since the World Cup semifinal loss to New Zealand last year and has maintained a stoic silence on what his next move would be. He was dropped from the BCCI’s list of centrally contracted players in January.

Among other CSK players who were part of the training on Monday were Ambati Rayudu, Murali Vijay, new recruit Piyush Chawla, Karn Sharma and local boys R Sai Kishore and N Jagadeesan.

This year’s IPL begins with CSK taking on defending champions Mumbai Indians in Mumbai on March 29.

The three-time IPL champions had picked up veteran leggie Chawla, Australian pacer Josh Hazelwood, England all-rounder Sam Curran and left-arm spinner R Sai Kishore during the players’ auction held in December last year.