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MS Dhoni dropped CSK captaincy hint to Ruturaj Gaikwad last IPL: ‘Be ready. It should not come as a surprise’

Newly-appointed CSK captain Ruturaj Gaikwad has revealed that MS Dhoni had given him clues during last IPL itself about the change in leadership.

A day after being appointed captain of the Chennai Super Kings for IPL 2024, Ruturaj Gaikwad revealed that MS Dhoni had dropped hints about the change in leadership last year itself. Gaikwad on Thursday succeeded Dhoni as CSK’s captain as the legendary MSD gets ready for a swansong. Although nothing has been made official and Dhoni is likely to play all the matches, that Gaikwad has been groomed as the next man in charge and given the role indicates that Dhoni will be all but done. And hence, in order to ensure a smooth transition, Dhoni knew at the back of his mind that now is the best time to step aside for someone new.

Ruturaj Gaikwad (L) has huge shoes to fill having taken over CSK captaincy from MS Dhoni. (ANI)

Interestingly, earlier this month, Dhoni had dropped, quite possibly the biggest hint, on the internet when he posted about his ‘new role’ on Facebook. But when it was later revealed to be a commercial, speculations were laid to rest. Or so everyone believed. Yesterday’s reports claimed Dhoni informed about his decision to the players and management moments before the players meeting and photoshoot, Gaikwad knew having picked up the little things during the build-up to the match eve.

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“I don’t think I need to change anything. Last year itself, Mahi bhai had just hinted about captaincy at some point of time. Just hinted ‘Be ready. It should not come as a surprise. And when he came into the camp, he made my get involved in some of the practice match simulations. I remember him posting about the ‘new role’ on social media. Everybody was just pointing towards me and asking me whether you are the next captain. Maybe it meant something else but at the back of the mind, he knew. He came and said ‘I’ve decided this and this…’ But now that I am here, I am looking forward to it,” Gaikwad said in a video uploaded by IPL.

From teammates to opponents

CSK’s bombshell adds to the list of new captains this season. Gujarat Titans will be led by Shubman Gill, while Hardik Pandya will look after the Mumbai Indians. Even Jitesh Sharma was named as a last-minute replacement for Shikhar Dhawan in the Punjab Kings camp. But Gaikwad’s appointment remains the biggest story. When he walks out for the toss, he will share space with Faf du Plessis, who in 2021 was his teammate at CSK. From sharing the same dressing room to now opposition captains, it’s funny how the IPL works.

“I just went to the meeting and I was telling Faf ‘who would have thought two years ago that you would be leading RCB and you and I sharing the stage at the toss. A lot to look forward to and I think it’s one of the most exciting first-day games,” added Gaikwad.

“Feels great to be part of this wonderful franchise. I started my IPL career here, and to be able to be trusted by MS Dhoni for a leadership role. That speaks a lot. The challenge lies ahead though. Right from Day 1 I liked how this franchise has worked over the years and I got to know the real reason behind success through this franchise. What players do, Mahi bhai does or what tha management does.”


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