IPL 2024: Ruturaj Gaikwad replaces MS Dhoni as CSK skipper

NEW DELHI: In an unexpected turn of events, Ruturaj Gaikwad assumed the role of captain for the Chennai Super Kings on Thursday, replacing the legendary MS Dhoni, as the defending champions stunned fans with a major announcement just a day before the IPL opener.
The Indian Premier League disclosed this development in a post on X, ahead of CSK‘s clash with the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
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“Presenting @ChennaiIPL’s Captain – @Ruutu1331,” the IPL posted on X shortly after releasing a picture of all captains posing with the IPL trophy.
Having featured in six ODIs and 19 T20s for India, Gaikwad made his debut for CSK in 2020 and has since played 52 matches for the five-time IPL champions.
The elegant opener had a remarkable performance last year, amassing 590 runs in 16 games with an impressive strike rate of 147.50.
The 27-year-old from Maharashtra is not new to captaincy, having led the Indian team to the gold medal in the Asian Games last year.
“MS Dhoni has handed over Chennai Super Kings’ captaincy to Ruturaj Gaikwad ahead of the start of TATA IPL 2024. Ruturaj has been an integral part of Chennai Super Kings since 2019 and has played 52 matches in IPL during this period,” CSK said in a statement on their website.
“The team looks forward to the upcoming season,” the statement added.
Dhoni is expected to retire at the end of the season and therefore the franchise felt the need for a smooth transition in Dhoni’s presence as a player.
“Whatever Dhoni does, it is in the best interest of the team. I got to know of the decision just before the captains’ meeting. You have to respect his decision, it is his call,” CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan told PTI.
CSK and Dhoni share an unbreakable bond and the World Cup-winning captain is expected to keep a significant role in the franchise going forward albeit not as a player.
CSK had attempted the leadership transition even in the 2022 edition but it did not work out with Ravindra Jadeja handing back the captaincy duties to Dhoni after eight games.
“It didn’t work out at that time, this is different,” said Visawanathan.
Dhoni officially announced his retirement from international cricket on August 15, 2020 but has kept playing the IPL.
The 42-year-old, who played with a dodgy knee last season, underwent a surgery after leading CSK to their fifth title.
Dhoni has played as many as 250 IPL matches, scoring more than 5000 runs at a strike rate of 135.92.
Due to his knee issues, Dhoni pushed himself down to number 8 in the batting order last season but after regaining full fitness, he is expected to bat higher up this edition.
Former India pacer Irfan Pathan met Dhoni recently and claimed that the latter appears to be in good shape following the knee surgery.
“Last year, Dhoni said he was giving a gift to his fans with his cricket. I met with him a few days ago, he was playing pickleball for two hours non-stop. His knee was as fit as it ever was. It’s an exciting time for fans; he now has his vintage old look. Will we get the vintage old Dhoni too?” Pathan asked on Star Sports.
“His role has changed in the past two years. He comes in lower-order, plays lesser deliveries but hits the big shots, the strike rate is high. It’s a small innings but a memorable one.
“I think there won’t be much of a change in that this year. He will continue to play that role,” said Pathan.
(With inputs from PTI)

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