‘He felt the time was right’: CSK head coach Stephen Fleming on MS Dhoni’s decision to step down as captain

Image Source : PTI MS Dhoni and Ruturaj Gaikwad during a CSK practice session.

The head coach of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) Stephen Fleming has revealed that it was MS Dhoni’s decision to relinquish captaincy and hand over the reins of the team to Ruturaj Gaikwad ahead of the 17th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

It was MS (Dhoni’s call) with a lot of consideration and one view to the future on the back of a good season last year,” Fleming said during a press conference. 

“The timing was good. Behind the scenes, Ruturaj and others have been on a, say, a captaincy-grooming process, looking forward to days like this and the opportunities come up, but MS is the best judge and he felt the time was right.”

Fleming also opened up on the decision to announce Ravindra Jadeja as CSK’s captain in 2022 and how the franchise wasn’t quite ready for Dhoni to step down. He also added that the move prepared the group to be ready for the transition and what CSK would like without Dhoni as their leader.

“Well, the big thing about a couple of years ago was that we probably weren’t ready for MS to move aside,” added Fleming. 

“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.”

CSK’s head coach also made it clear that “Ruturaj is very self-assured” and the senior players in the team are looking forward to helping him out in the middle with his new role.

“Yeah, I hope so. It’s getting that balance right without interfering, but also providing that leadership that you can’t ignore. It’s been too long and he’s too big a presence that you don’t just turn that off, you use it. And finding that balance and being able to use the Jadejas and Dhonis and help Ruturaj as he develops is very important. In the middle, we’ll take a little bit of trial and error to a degree.

“Ruturaj is very self-assured. Again, he’s not the most demonstrative captain or person around, but he’s got a very good approach with his fellow players and he’s very well-respected. So I think my understanding from the senior players is the desire to help,” Fleming concluded.

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