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MS Dhoni hands over Chennai Super Kings captaincy to Ruturaj Gaikwad ahead of IPL 2024

  • Mar 21, 2024
  • pitchhigh
  • 1129

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has relinquished his position as the captain of Chennai Super Kings, with Ruturaj Gaikwad appointed as the new leader just before the commencement of the upcoming IPL season starting on Friday. Despite stepping down from the captaincy role, Dhoni will remain a part of the team as a player for the season. Barring any unforeseen injury concerns, he is set to continue his role as the wicketkeeper against Royal Challengers Bengaluru in the opening match.The decision to change the captaincy on the eve of the season might appear unexpected, but behind the scenes, the Super Kings have been preparing Gaikwad for this responsibility. Back in 2022, prior to the start of the season in Maharashtra, Dhoni had passed on the captaincy to Ravindra Jadeja. However, this decision did not yield the desired results as Jadeja resigned from the position midway through the season, prompting Dhoni to take charge again.In preparation for the 2023 IPL season, CSK initially considered Ben Stokes as a potential captaincy option. However, due to his ongoing fitness struggles, the franchise shifted their focus to Gaikwad. Despite not being a regular fixture in the Indian team, the 27-year-old opener is highly regarded within the franchise setup.Entering the CSK setup in 2019, he debuted in 2020, securing three consecutive Man of the Match awards in his initial matches. In 2021, amidst Chennai's fourth title victory, he clinched the Orange Cap. Since then, he has solidified his position as a consistent presence in the team.Throughout the 2022/23 domestic season, particularly during the Vijay Hazare Trophy campaign, Gaikwad had significant interactions with Dhoni. It was during this time, in Ranchi, away from the media spotlight, that the initial phases of leadership transition were set in motion. This method of passing on the baton, reminiscent of Dhoni's approach, mirrors his handing over of responsibilities to Virat Kohli within the Indian team.Since then, Gaikwad has been consistently participating in the captaincy programs conducted by Stephen Fleming at the team hotel. "Similar to Dhoni, he exudes a remarkable sense of calmness. He handles pressure situations with ease, akin to Dhoni, and possesses a keen understanding of the game. Moreover, he's incredibly observant, and his nature, character, and personality attract people to him. He possesses exceptional leadership qualities," remarked Hussey.During the Vijay Hazare Trophy campaign, where Gaikwad guided Maharashtra to the final, many of his teammates noticed his emulation of Dhoni's captaincy style. From organizing practice sessions to coordinating team outings, Gaikwad managed everything, resembling the way MS Dhoni operates CSK."He's become our pillar," expressed Azim Kazi, Maharashtra's all-rounder. "Under his guidance, we're constantly evolving, adapting to new methods. He's revolutionized our approach to preparation, fostering a strong sense of unity within the team, even extending to our interactions in the hotel. For instance, he keeps his door open at all times, welcoming us to seek his guidance whenever needed. Off the field, he's quick to identify areas where players may be struggling and offers solutions for improvement. What's truly remarkable is his strategic vision, assigning specific roles to each player and utilizing our strengths effectively," Kazi elaborated.After honing his skills within the Maharashtra setup, Gaikwad now steps into the shoes of Dhoni.