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Dhoni is a bit of an enigma. But as CSK captain, Jadeja’s time had come

Dhoni is a man of few words, but Chennai Super Kings has won more than half the matches they played with him as captain.

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In classic ‘Thala’ fashion, MS Dhoni gave up Chennai Super Kings captaincy without any big gesture and passed on the baton to Ravindra Jadeja right before the Indian Premier League (IPL) opener against Kolkata Knight Riders.

The internet was abuzz with the news of Dhoni relinquishing captaincy, more than Jadeja taking charge of one of the most successful teams in the league. But there was acceptance all around, along with hefty praise for truly the most iconic franchise captain in the history of IPL. Many cricketers and fans were also quick to react and praise MSD’s legendary spell as CSK captain.

All-rounder Dwayne Bravo, who has been an integral part of the team, took to Instagram to say, “Thank You for everything @mahi7781 your legacy will live on forever!! #Brother,”.

Meanwhile, Virat Kohli applauded Dhoni’s legendary captaincy on Twitter.

But what makes his turn of events interesting is that in the cricketing world, where emotions run high and clear, Dhoni has been a bit of an enigma.

Also read: Dhoni might be a legend of Indian cricket. But the T20 World Cup is about those on the pitch

A man of few words

Throughout his career, MS Dhoni has always maintained a sense of mystery around him. This is not only reflected in his decisions on the pitch, but also when he decided to let go of test captaincy of the national team (in 2014), the ODI captaincy (in 2017), and when he retired from international cricket (2020) and just posted a modest Instagram video. Even now, Dhoni apparently informed the CSK team about his decision without any emotional overtone or extra words right before their practice session on Thursday, 24 March.

One of the few times MSD has been emotional was when CSK made its comeback after being barred from the tournament due to allegations of spot-fixing against its key officials. Dhoni had said that match-fixing was a bigger crime for him than murder.

He was visibly moved while representing Chennai in the trademark yellow jersey. It shows his commitment and love for the team that he has nurtured over the years.

Also read: When Kohli took over from Dhoni a template was set. Now BCCI has set India back two decades

Captain Cool on steering wheel

The Chennai crowd loves their ‘Thala’. His popularity down south almost rivals that of Rajinikanth, and that’s for a very good reason.

‘Captain Cool’ has led the team for all the 12 editions of IPL; with Suresh Raina at the helm for a few matches, Ravindra Jadeja is set to be only the third captain of the men in yellow. Dhoni captained CSK in 204 matches, out of which they won 121 and lost 82 games while maintaining a winning percentage of well over 59 per cent. Out of the 12 seasons, CSK has been to the playoffs 9 times (despite being banned for two seasons — in 2016 and 2017).

The Chennai Super Kings, under his captaincy, has won the IPL trophy four times, and the now-defunct ICC Champions Trophy twice.

Additionally, at the age of 40, he still remains the oldest captain to have won an IPL trophy. In his last match as captain, he led the team to a prolific win in the finale of IPL 2021.

Also read: 10-team IPL begins today after mega auction reset. Here’s how the squads stack up

On to Jadeja

Dhoni has passed on the captaincy to the current number one all-rounder in Test cricket, ‘Sir’ Jadeja (a term he himself coined). While Jadeja has been with the team since 2012, he has grown tremendously as a player and has observed Dhoni closely as he led the men in yellow to numerous victories and also through rough patches.

For his lack of experience at captaincy, Jadeja still has Dhoni as his go-to man. He also makes up in kind with his quick hands and feet on the ground (which are second to none in the cricketing world), and brilliant spin bowling to go along.

Many believe that Dhoni has groomed Jadeja over the last few seasons and now is the perfect time for him to take over, as he is in his prime and has been quite dependable with the ball and bat recently for the national team.

The timing is right, for Dhoni, Jadeja, and CSK.

The only concern fans like me (who have grown up admiring Dhoni’s wavy hairstyle, flamboyant batting, and unmatched captaincy in ODIs) have is if Dhoni will retire after this season and is ready to give up cricket in its entirety; despite CSK in its official announcement saying Dhoni will continue to be a part of CSK in 2022 and beyond.

Views are personal.

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