Ravindra Jadeja and the challenges he faces as Chennai Super Kings skipper
Ravindra Jadeja will lead CSK from IPL 2022|
Chennai Super Kings have been one of the two most successful sides in the history of Indian Premier League winning four titles. For the IPL 2022, MS Dhoni handed Ravindra Jadeja the captaincy of the team considering the future and he will have to overcome several challenges while leading the squad.
Indian Premier League is the best league around the world and there is no doubt about that. Several stars in the sport have already praised the league and also its standards are evident from the quality of players playing in the league. Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings have been the most successful teams in the league winning nine titles amongst them. CSK flourished under the captaincy of MS Dhoni and he has been the identity of the team for a long time now.
Dhoni is still the most loved cricketer by CSK fans but he is in the lateral stages of his career. Considering the future of the team he handed the leadership duties to all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. The franchise also looked upon Jadeja as the future captain and it was evident when they selected him as the first name to retain over Dhoni ahead of the mega auction. The left-hander has been improving his game every year and is already considered to be in the list of best all-rounders in the current era.
Jadeja was initially known for his bowling. Although he has two triple centuries to his name in domestic cricket, he was unable to prove his batting skills for a long while in international cricket. However, in the last couple of years, his batting has also been phenomenal and he attacks the opposition in the back end of the innings. Although Jadeja doesn't have prior experience of captaincy, his all-round game and understanding can help him to lead the team.
When Chennai Super Kings started their campaign against Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2022, it was expected that Jadeja would take charge of the team from the front. Sadly, it looks like MS Dhoni still plays a key role in the scheme of things and the all-rounder just does some bowling changes. In the two matches CSK have played so far, it was seen many times that the captain was fielding in the deep and Mahi was handling things in the middle. In the last match against Lucknow Super Giants, his move to bring Dwaine Pretorious was a good one in my opinion, but all the tactics failed when Shivam Dube bowled an over in the last five.
CSK have many more matches to go and Jadeja will have some challenges to overcome while leading the team this season and in the future.
Finding the replacement of senior players
CSK was also nicknamed ‘Dad Army’ in IPL 2021. They had many players in the team who were aged above 30. This time also they have players aged above 30 and the team has played with four players aged above 35 in the two matches so far. Robin Uthappa (36 years), Ambati Rayudu (36 years), MS Dhoni (40 years), and Dwayne Bravo (38 years) are the players who don't have many years to play for the team.
In such a scenario, Jadeja will have to be ready with back-ups of these players. Also, with age not on their side they can face injuries and the captain should be aware of replacements he can take in the team. Overall, working with senior players will be a challenge for Jadeja as he will be doing captaincy for the first time. More importantly, he is supposed to know the strengths and weaknesses of these players and how to utilize them.
Ruturaj Gaikwad was the find of the season last time for Chennai Super Kings. He played in a few matches in IPL 2020 and showcased his potential in those games but his emergence began in 2021. Last year, he amassed 635 runs at 45.35 and was the leading run-scorer in the tournament. Jadeja will have to play a similar role like MS Dhoni by mentoring the younger players in the team and helping them improve their game.
Currently, they have Shivam Dube who has played all two matches for the franchise this season. They also have U-19 star Rajvardhan Hangargekar and youngsters like Prashant Solanki and K.Bhagath Varma. Jadeja can be instrumental in preparing these players to be ready to play in the final XI in the future.
While replacing Dhoni in the role of such a heavy responsibility, the all-rounder will have a role to boost the confidence of these young guns as a leader.
Finishing the innings for the team
If there is one thing Jadeja is supposed to do while stepping in MS Dhoni’s shoes; his finishing skills are to be replicated. When you see the line-up of Chennai Super Kings, their lower order comprises Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni, and Dwaine Pretorious. Jadeja walks in to bat ahead of the two and so he will have to lead from the front with his batting performance. Dhoni looks good so far but still, he is not at his peak. Pretorious is a bowling all-rounder and it is also doubtful whether he will be able to hit confidently on Indian surfaces.
Jadeja will have to take responsibility to finish the innings and take the team to a decent total every time. He will have to lead by performance and send a message to the team that a player should step up to the task when the need arises. Also, he will be the lead spinner of the team and so taking wickets will be crucial for him.
The biggest challenge for the left-hander will be to be the brand of the franchise and connect with fans on an emotional level just like what Dhoni did over the years during his captaincy tenure. It is now time for the team to let Jadeja take charge of the team completely and Dhoni can help him whenever he needs guidance.