MS Dhoni was handed back the leadership duties of Chennai Super Kings from Ravindra Jadeja last week. Several factors led to Jadeja resigning from post but it is commendable that he accepted that the responsibility was affecting his performance and he should move on to concentrate on his own game
Chennai Super Kings have been one of the champions team in the history of IPL winning four titles. The team has absolutely dominated the best league around the world with ease. The main reason behind these victories was the leadership of MS Dhoni and the way he handles the team and every individual player. Aged-40, Dhoni is in the final years of his career and so there was a need for change in the captaincy. The veteran wicketkeeper-batter chose Ravindra Jadeja as his successor before the tournament and the franchise chose to back the decision.
CSK retained four players ahead of the season. Their faith in Jadeja was evident when the was their first retention ahead of MS Dhoni. Apart from both these players, the team retained Moeen Ali and Ruturaj Gaikwad. Jadeja was expected to be tutored by Dhoni on leading the squad in the future. The first few matches were going to be a sort of leadership training for Jadeja. They were eyeing to add one more title to the trophy cabinet but Jadeja’s leadership was going to be the decisive factor.
It was expected to be a new start for the franchise but turned out to be one of the worst. In their first eight matches, CSK managed to win just two with Jadeja leading the team. Also, out of these two wins, one was against Mumbai Indians who are going through their worst season at the moment. Their batting was doing well except for the form of Ruturaj Gaikwad but the bowling was looking very fragile. Further, Dhoni was seen as more involved in the field setting while Jadeja was fielding in the deep. Also, the bowling changes by Jadeja were questionable sometimes.
Dhoni also mentioned the fact in the last game that Jadeja knew since last season that he will be given a shot at captaincy in 2022 and got enough time to prepare for the role.
“Between me and Jadeja, he knew last season itself that he will be given a chance to captain this year. He knew and got enough time to prepare” Dhoni had said.
Jadeja’s individual performance was also getting affected in the dual role of a skipper and an all-rounder. He contributed with unbeaten 26 runs but wasn’t able to pick any wicket against KKR in the first match. Jadeja scored just 17 runs and was expensive in his couple of overs with the ball against LSG. He scored a duck in the match against PBKS and his bowling figures read 4-0-34-1 registering his first wicket of the tournament. He scored 23 runs against SRH and went wicketless without bowling his full quota of four overs.
He scored another duck against RCB but scalped three wickets showing signs of regaining form. He then scored 22* and picked one wicket against GT. three runs and another wicketless match against MI raised questions over his form and in his final captaincy game against PBKS he bowled only a couple of overs.
Overall, the season turned out to be horrendous for Jadeja while handling the captaincy as he scored 112 runs from eight innings at 22.4. With his bowling also he has been ordinary. He didn’t even bowl his four overs and also managed to scalp only five wickets from eight innings. His bowling was good in the last match and with leadership responsibility off his shoulder, he seems to be playing to his potential. When Dhoni was speaking in the post-match presentation after their last game he revealed that he left the decision-making completely to Jadeja after the first couple of games.
“In the first 2 games there was information going in towards Jaddu and after that I left it to him to decide which angle to bowl and all that. At the end of the season, you don't want him to feel as the captaincy was done by someone else and I'm just going for toss. So it was a gradual transition,” he had said.
However, the move didn’t work for Ravindra Jadeja as it was affecting his game as well as the team’s performance. Eventually, the responsibility is handed back to Dhoni last week but there are several factors that led to the occurrence. Jadeja didn’t have a prior experience of captaincy and that played a big role. The captaincy was going from a tactical genius MS Dhoni to a player who hadn’t captained any side before. The bowling unit of CSK wasn’t very good already but Jadeja’s captaincy inexperience affected their rotation.
Joe Root recently stepped down from the England captaincy when they were at the wrong end of the results frequently including the Ashes. With his decision to leave captaincy for the betterment of his individual game and for the welfare of the team Jadeja shouldn't be the subject of trolling. Rather he should be appreciated for the fact that he was gutsy enough to accept that the pressure of captaincy is affecting him and to move on is the best suitable option. Also, in the two matches after leaving the leadership, Jadeja has been bowling better and is looking to be more expressive on the field.