‘Be ready’: MS Dhoni had hinted Ruturaj Gaikwad about CSK captaincy last year


IPL 2024
Image Source : PTI MS Dhoni and Ruturaj Gaikwad

“Be ready, it shuldn’t be a surprise to you.” These were MS Dhoni’s words to Ruturaj Gaikwad last year in the Indian Premier League (IPL) regarding captaincy. Yes, Dhoni had hinted the latter about a possible captaincy switch last season itself and it happened on the eve of the opening game of IPL 2024 between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bengaluru. Ever since entering the camp, the man was making Ruturaj ready for the job as he also involved the youngster in match simulations during practice.

“Last year itself, Mahi bhai had hinted about captaincy at some point of time. He just hinted that, ‘be ready, it shouldn’t be a surprise to you’. When we came into the camp, he involved me in some of the match simulation,” Gaikwad told IPLT20.com. Interestingly, MS Dhoni had posted something about being excited for a ‘new role’ around a week or 10 ago on social media but the general sentiment around that was it could’ve been for a promotional campaign.

Pointing to the same, Ruturaj Gaikwad also revealed that many people asked him about the captaincy change. “I remember him posting about a new role on social media and everybody was pointing towards me and asking me, ‘are you the next captain?’. I was like, ‘maybe it meant something else for social media’. But back of the mind, it was there. He came and said, ‘I’ve decided this and this’, but definitely now that I’m here, I’m looking forward to this,” the 27-year-old added.

With all the pressure of filling in Dhoni’s shoes, Ruturaj Gaikwad is looking forward to doing the job for his franchise having eased into the set up since being picked in 2019. He didn’t play in his first season and had a terrible start in 2020 scoring three ducks. But at the fag end of the edition, he scored three consecutive half-centuries and that was the start of a special journey. He followed it up with a 635-run season in IPL 2021 winning the orange cap. “It feels great for two reasons (of new role). 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 speaks a lot. The challenge lies ahead and I’m looking forward to it.

“I’ve got to know how the franchise works throughout the year, got to know their mantra, the reasons behind their success, what kind of things the franchise goes through, what Mahi bhai or the support staff do. I wouldn’t like to change a single bit of it. He’s a great backbone to have on the field. I also have Ajju [Ajinkya Rahane] bhai and Jaddu bhai as well, 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 everything will be fine,” Ruturaj further said.


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