In a big move just two days ahead of the IPL 2022, MS Dhoni has stepped down as captain of Chennai Super Kings and has handed over the reins to Ravindra Jadeja.
The left-handed all-rounder will lead the defending champions CSK in the season opener against Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday.
"MS Dhoni has decided to hand over the leadership of Chennai Super Kings and picked Ravindra Jadeja to lead the team. Jadeja has been an integral part of Chennai Super Kings since 2012. Dhoni will continue to represent Chennai Super Kings this season and beyond," CSK said in an official statement.
Dhoni had led CSK since the first season of the IPL way back in 2008. He is the IPL's second-most successful captain having led CSK to four titles, just one behind Rohit Sharma's Mumbai Indians.
With Dhoni in charge, CSK became the most successful IPL franchise of all time, failing to qualify for the playoffs only once in the tournament's 15-year-long history. This could also mean that Dhoni is unlikely to play all games for CSK this season and it could well be the last we see of him in the IPL. As for Jadeja, a tough challenge awaits the all-rounder as he hasn't had much experience captaining a team. The last time Jadeja was a skipper in any form was back in 2007 when he led Saurashtra against Jharkhand in the Vinoo Mankad Under-19 tournament.
Jadeja will become only the third player to captain CSK after Dhoni and Suresh Raina. Jadeja, who joined CSK in 2012 has scored 1324 runs and picked up 90 wickets for CSK across eight seasons. CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan revealed that Dhoni made the decision on Thursday and that it was on his mind for some time now. Viswanathan pointed out that Dhoni wanted a seamless transition and felt this was the right time to pass the torch to Jadeja.
"MS Dhoni was thinking about it. He felt it was the right time to hand over captaincy to Jaddu [Jadeja]. He feels Jaddu is also in 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," Viswanathan told ESPNCricinfo.
After finishing runner-up in the first edition of the IPL, Dhoni led CSK to their maiden IPL trophy in 2010 when they beat Mumbai Indians in the final. The following year, they became the only team to win the IPL trophy two years in a row, an accomplishment they held until 2020, when MI completed a double. Dhoni led CSK to their third IPL win in 2018, which will probably go down as their most memorable. CSK were returning to the IPL after a two-year-ban and captain Dhoni was once again at his best, shepherding his troops to the second place in the points table. In the final, CSK defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets to complete one of the greatest and the most memorable comeback stories in all sports.
This will only be the second time since 2017 that Dhoni will play as a pure batter and wicketkeeper in the IPL. Five years ago, Dhoni was replaced by Steve Smith as captain of the Rising Pune Supergiant mid-way through the season. They finished runner-up losing to MI by one run in the final. Under Dhoni, CSK played 204 IPL matches, winning 121.