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MS Dhoni leaves CSK in tears, shocks teammates out of the blue on IPL eve: ‘Not a single dry eye in dressing room’

MS Dhoni and CSK announced that Ruturaj Gaikwad will be the franchise’s new captain on the even of the side’s opening match in IPL 2024 against RCB

When it’s MS Dhoni, you never know. First, it was 2015, then 2019 and now 2024. It’s almost like Dhoni and surprises go hand-in-hand as he sprung another one out of the bag when he decided to step down as captain of Chennai Super Kings. On the eve of the start of the 17th edition of the IPL, Dhoni and CSK dropped a mega bombshell announcing Ruturaj Gaikwad as their new skipper, and although the writing was on the wall, when it came out, it hit pretty bad and marked the end of an era.

MS Dhoni during a training session ahead of the IPL 2024 match between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bengaluru(PTI)

At least, that was the case in the CSK camp. Coach Stephen Fleming revealed that the decision was entirely Dhoni’s but one that left a whole bunch of guys emotional. That said, the team is extremely chuffed for Gaikwad’s fresh stint as captain and is looking ahead to the start of a new and hopefully, promising chapter.

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Also read Ruturaj Gaikwad namedrops Ravindra Jadeja in first reaction after succeeding MS Dhoni at CSK for IPL 2024

“(When Dhoni broke the news) there was a lot of emotions. A whole lot of tears. There wasn’t a dry eye in the dressing room. Everyone was moved. Last time (when CSK changed the captain) we weren’t as prepared for MS to move and for a change in leadership,” Fleming said.

“There was also a round of congratulations to Ruturaj. He isn’t the most vocal person, but he has qualities to lead us in the right direction.”

This isn’t the first time CSK has moved on from Dhoni as captain. At least tried to. They pulled off a similar surprise in 2022 when Ravindra Jadeja was handed over the reins but had to reverse the decision after CSK started the season off badly. And while it was too late to control the damage back then, Dhoni led them to the title the following year. Fleming admits that two years ago, CSK weren’t ready for the transition but are in a pretty good place regarding Gaikwad this time around.

“Well, the big thing about a couple of years ago was that we probably weren’t ready for MS to move aside,” Fleming said. “And what that did was probably shake us as a leadership group or coaches into looking at the possibility when he does go. And up until that stage, it was almost unthinkable, but it sowed the seed. So, we’ve worked pretty hard on making sure that any mistakes that were made during then aren’t made again. And that the leadership isn’t a secret.”

Dhoni revealed his decision to step down to his teammates and the CSK support staff first, leaving them shellshocked, before heading over to inform the management about the same.


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