Gaikwad: Last year itself, MS hinted us about the captaincy change

By Real11 - Mar 22 2024 193 Views

Gaikwad: Mahi bhai hinted us about the shift in captaincy 

The newly appointed Chennai skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad, has revealed that his forerunner MS Dhoni had dropped hints regarding a potential leadership change/switch last year. Only a day prior to the start of the 2024 edition of the tournament, the change indeed was made with Dhoni handing over the captaincy duties to Gaikwad while still continuing as a player. 

"I don't think I need to change anything. Last year itself, Mahi bhai had just hinted about captaincy at some point of time," Gaikwad said . "Just hinted that, 'be ready, it shouldn't be a surprise to you'. When we came into the camp, obviously he made me involved in some of the practice match simulations."

Earlier this month, Dhoni posted a cryptic message on social media stating that he would be essaying a ‘new role’.  "I remember him posting about a new role on social media and everybody was just pointing towards me and asking me whether 'you are the next captain?' I was like, 'maybe it meant something else for social media'. Back of the mind, it was there. I would say just a week (before) we came and he said, 'I've decided this and this', but definitely now that I'm here, I'm really looking forward to this."

The 27 year old has been with Chennai since 2019 but it was only in the 2020 season he got regular opportunities. Gaikwad struggled to find his feet in the middle order initially and eventually lost his place. He returned to the playing XI at the business end of the season and opened the innings, scoring three fifties on the bounce. Since then, there has been no turning back for him. A vital cog in Chennai’s dominant run in the competition, Gaikwad bagged the orange cap in 2021. 

"Feels great, I think, for two reasons," Gaikwad said, reflecting on his journey. "First of all to be part of this wonderful franchise right from when my IPL journey started and then to be trusted by MS Dhoni for a leadership role obviously speaks a lot. The challenge lies ahead and I'm looking forward to it.

"Right from day one, I liked how this particular franchise works throughout the year, I kind of got to know the real mantra, the reasons behind their success, what kind of things the franchise goes through, what Mahi bhai does, the management or the support staff does. I wouldn't like to change a single bit of it. For me he (Dhoni) is a great backbone to have still on the field. I have Ajju (Ajinkya Rahane) bhai and Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) bhai as well, so definitely a lot of options to look around. I don't think I'll need to change anything. Just give the kind of freedom the players want and I think everything will be fine."

Gaikwad’s first assignment at the helm is the season opener against Bengaluru which will be led by Faf Du Plessis. The duo scored nearly 600 runs each in Chennai’s triumphant 2021 season. "I just met Faf in the (captains) meeting and said, 'who would've thought a few years down the line, you playing for Bengaluru and leading Bengaluru, you and me sharing the stage at the toss'," Gaikwad said. "A lot to look forward to. It is one of the most exciting first-day games to look forward to."

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