Dhoni Skips Captaincy Burden, Gaikwad to Lead CSK in IPL 2024

Ahead of IPL 2024, MS Dhoni, the iconic leader of Chennai Super Kings (CSK), has passed on the captaincy baton to Ruturaj Gaikwad.

The head coach said that Dhoni decided to resign as captain after giving it “a lot of thought.”

Dhoni Skips Captaincy Burden, Gaikwad to Lead CSK in IPL 2024

On the eve of the opening match of the tournament in Chennai, head coach Stephen Fleming of the Chennai Super Kings disclosed that it was MS Dhoni’s decision to give Ruturaj Gaikwad the captaincy of the team before to IPL 2024.

“It was MS [Dhoni’s decision] with a lot of consideration and one view to the future on the back of a good season last year,” Fleming stated during his Thursday press conference. “The time worked well. Though MS is the greatest judge and he believed the timing was perfect, Ruturaj and others have been, let’s say, on a captaincy-grooming process, looking forward to days like this when the possibilities come along.”

On the eve of the first game of the season, CSK has surprised fans for the second time in the previous three seasons by appointing a new captain. After Dhoni was captain in 2022, Ravindra Jadeja took over, although the change was not entirely seamless as Jadeja resigned halfway through the season after CSK had lost six of their opening eight games.

After regaining control, Dhoni guided CSK to their fifth IPL championship in 2023, tying the Mumbai Indians.

According to Fleming, the 2022 captaincy change served as a bit of a wake-up call, and the team is now more equipped to work with a new leader and plan for the future.

“Well, the big thing about a couple of years ago was that we probably weren’t ready for MS to move aside,” Fleming explained. And that’s probably what shook us coaches and as a leadership group into considering the idea of his leaving. It was nearly unimaginable before that point, yet it planted the seed. Therefore, we’ve put a lot of effort into ensuring that any errors committed back then don’t happen again. Moreover, the leadership is open to the public.”

Fleming further proposed that Dhoni and other experienced players may provide Gaikwad with some on-field mentoring to help him adjust to his new position. After Dhoni, Gaikwad is the only other player to lead CSK in the IPL. During the Asian Games in Hangzhou, where they took home the gold medal, the 27-year-old captained Maharashtra in 13 Twenty20 matches and India in three Twenty20 international matches.

Yes, I do hope so. It’s striking the perfect balance without getting in the way while still offering unavoidable leadership, according to Fleming. It’s been too long, and he’s too powerful, so you have to use it rather than just turn it off. It’s crucial to strike that balance so you can use the Dhonis and Jadejas to aid Ruturaj in his development. We will, to some extent, rely on trial and error in the middle.

“Ruturaj exudes confidence. Once more, he’s not the most flamboyant captain or individual in the room, but he’s highly regarded and has excellent communication skills with his teammates. I believe that the senior players’ comprehension of the need to assist is what I’m getting.”

Dhoni Skips Captaincy Burden, Gaikwad to Lead CSK in IPL 2024

Gaikwad is excited to draw from Dhoni and company’s experience. “It feels comfortable. It’s a privilege, but it also comes with a great deal of responsibility, Gaikwad stated on CSK’s social media platforms. “I am quite happy about the kind of group we have. Everyone has sufficient experience. Thus, I don’t really have anything to do. I have three outstanding leaders to lead me on the team: Mahi [Dhoni] bhai, Jaddu [Jadeja] bhai, and Ajju [Rahane] bhai.”

One of CSK’s greatest IPL success stories is Gaikwad. Having just recovered from Covid-19 at the time, he had a difficult start in the middle order in the UAE during the 2019 IPL, but he went on to become a versatile opener after CSK bought him for his base price of INR 20 lakh. The team management of CSK is especially happy with Gaikwad’s development.

“So, we’ve been working very hard on making sure that the plans are in place, [so] that all players are more self-sufficient,” Fleming stated. “Yes, we are. While it’s not true that MS alone has a great sense of the game, we are happy of the way our younger players have developed.

“(Tushar) Deshpande came through last year, took control of that area, and performed admirably in domestic cricket. This indicates that it is effective to give participants a sense of ownership and trust. Pulling the strings is not the captain’s only responsibility.

“Well, we’re investigating that. And like I say, they startled us into looking at life beyond (Dhoni), so we’re better prepared now. And as a management team, we’ve been a little sluggish to achieve it in some respects.”

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