In a major change brought into the Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Ravindra Jadeja is all set to succeed MS Dhoni as the captain of CSK for IPL 2022, as the former Team India skipper steps down from the leadership position. The update was confirmed by the franchise on Thursday, March 24. Dhoni had been leading the team since 2008.
The franchise, while making the announcement added that “Dhoni will continue to represent Chennai Super Kings this season and beyond”. Dhoni himself had assured his fans last season that he would continue to play for the team for at least one more season, revealing no plans of his retirement.
CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan told ESPNcricinfo that Dhoni wanted the leadership “transition” to be seamless and that Jadeja was ready to take over for the franchise, which won its fourth IPL title last year. Viswanathan said Dhoni made the decision at a team meeting on Thursday before the players went for training – the reigning champions will play the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL 2022 opener on March 26 at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.
“MS Dhoni was thinking about it,” Viswanathan said. “He felt it is the right time to hand over the captaincy to Jaddu [Jadeja]. He feels Jaddu is also in the prime form of his career and it is the ideal time for him to lead CSK. What will be good for the franchise must be [in the] back of his mind.”
Prior to Jadeja, CSK has been led by Suresh Raina aside from Dhoni, making Jadeja the third player to serve as the captain of CSK. Jadeja has been representing the team since 2012. It would be his first-ever experience in captaincy in senior cricket as he has only had the opportunity to lead a team once during his U-19 years in 2007.
Viswanathan stated that, while Dhoni did not directly inform him, the decision did not come as a surprise because the franchise discussed the issue before the 2021 IPL season and told Jadeja at the time. “He [Jadeja] has been talked to earlier. Even last year there was proposal. We knew he would be the best person to succeed MS.”
While he may not have logged enough leadership hours, Jadeja has 131 matches playing alongside Dhoni at Super Kings since joining the squad in 2012. And, according to Viswanathan, Dhoni thought that Jadeja was the greatest replacement for him since he weighed in as a player, a leader, an allrounder, and a matchwinner.
Defending champions CSK will play the opening match of the tournament on March 26, against the runner-up of the last season, Kolkata Knight Riders at the Wankhede Stadium.