“Just before the captains’ meeting…”: MS Dhoni’s exit surprises CSK CEO

"Just before the captains' meeting...": MS Dhoni's exit surprises CSK CEO

File photo of MS Dhoni in action for CSK© BCCI

Legendary MS Dhoni on Thursday “handed over” the Chennai Super Kings captaincy to opener Ruturaj Gaikwad on the eve of the IPL opener, a stunning move that is sure to swirl speculation about his future player with the franchise. In an article on X, the Indian Premier League made the announcement a day before CSK took on Royal Challengers Bengaluru. The five-time champions released a brief statement shortly after. “MS Dhoni handed over the Chennai Super Kings captaincy to Ruturaj Gaikwad before the start of the TATA IPL 2024. Ruturaj has been an integral part of the Chennai Super Kings since 2019 and has played 52 matches in the IPL during this period. The team looking forward to the upcoming season,” CSK said.

There are speculations that Dhoni will retire at the end of the season and hence the franchise felt the need for a smooth transition in the stalwart’s presence as a player.

Gaikwad, who played six ODIs and 19 T20s for India, made his debut for CSK in 2020 and went on to represent the team in 52 matches.

“Whatever Dhoni does, it is in the best interest of the team. I came to know about the decision just before the captains’ meeting. You have to respect his decision, it is his decision,” the CEO said of CSK, Kasi Viswanathan, to PTI.

Gaikwad, a stylish opener, had a memorable run last year, tallying 590 runs in 16 matches at an impressive strike rate of 147.50. His breakout year came in 2021, when he racked up 635 points in 16 games.

The 27-year-old from Maharashtra is not new to the captaincy, having led the Indian team to the gold medal at the Asian Games last year. He also ruled his state of Maharashtra.

CSK and Dhoni share an unbreakable bond and the World Cup-winning captain is expected to retain an important role in the franchise in the future, but not as a player.

CSK had attempted leadership transition even in the 2022 edition, but it didn’t work as Ravindra Jadeja handed over the captaincy duties to Dhoni after eight matches.

“It didn’t work then, it’s different,” Viswanathan said.

In a media interaction later on Thursday, head coach Stephen Fleming added: “We were not ready to leave MS in 2022. Dhoni has a good feel for the game, but we want to develop the young players for this role. We are well prepared this time.” Dhoni officially announced his retirement from international cricket on August 15, 2020, but his commitment to the IPL remained intact.

The 42-year-old, who played with a questionable knee last season, underwent surgery after leading CSK to their fifth title.

Dhoni played as many as 250 IPL matches, scoring over 5,000 runs with a strike rate of 135.92.

Due to his knee problems, Dhoni relegated to 8th in the batting order last season, but after returning to full fitness, he is expected to bat higher this edition.

Former India coach Irfan Pathan met Dhoni recently and claimed that the latter seems to be in good shape after the knee surgery.

“Last year, Dhoni said he was giving a gift to his fans with his cricket. I met him a few days ago, he was playing pickleball for two hours non-stop. His knee was still so bad form. It’s an exciting time for fans; he has his old vintage look now. Will we have the old vintage Dhoni too?” Pathan asked on Star Sports.

“His role has changed over the last couple of years. He comes in a lower order, bowls fewer deliveries but hits the big shots, strike rate is high. It’s a small innings but memorable. I think he “There won’t be much of a change in that area this year. He will continue to play that role,” Pathan said.

Apart from resounding success in IPL, Dhoni led CSK to two titles in the defunct Champions League. CSK has played as many as 10 finals under the leadership of Dhoni. If we include his 14 matches for Rising Pune Supergiant, this extends his IPL captaincy to 226 IPL matches, with Rohit Sharma a distant second (158 matches).

While Dhoni is expected to play the entire season, Gaikwad will have the luxury of relying on the charismatic cricketer in pressure situations. PTI BS TO PM BS TO TO TO

Topics mentioned in this article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *