MS Dhoni told me to be ready to captain CSK in 2022: Ruturaj Gaikwad

In the last IPL season, head coach Stephen Fleming, himself an astute captain during his playing career, groomed Gaikwad for the role by holding regular talks.

MS Dhoni


Utturaj Gaikwad has revealed how he would have liked captaining Chennai Super Kings (CSK) during their title-winning campaign in 2023, a year after MS Dhoni groomed him for the role. And after taking the hot seat, Gaikwad said he wants to “retain the CSK culture” as it has given them five titles, including three in the last six years.

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Speaking to the media for the first time since taking over as captain following CSK’s seven-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders, Gaikwad said he himself wants to remain in the role and not try to fill Dhoni’s place. .

“I remember him saying to me in 2022, ‘You know, maybe not next year but after that you might get a chance to lead, so be ready for it.’ So obviously after that, I was always preparing for it. It (captaincy) didn’t come as news to me or I was a bit surprised or shocked,” said Gaikwad who scored an unbeaten 67 in CSK’s win on Monday. , he said.

Gaikwad then explained in detail the circumstances in which Dhoni broke the news to him before this season. “To be honest, it wasn’t really a deep conversation. When it was discussed it was in a very cold state… the one-on-one conversation was very cold. We were practicing and he came and told us all the things (about me taking charge). I obviously feel like everyone out there is going to feel like they have big shoes to fill. But I would like to remain the same and continue the culture that has been going on,” Gaikwad said.

IPL 2024: Sunil Gavaskar praised Ruturaj Gaikwad’s captaincy in the debut match on Friday. IPL 2024: Sunil Gavaskar praised Ruturaj Gaikwad’s captaincy in the debut match on Friday.
In the last IPL season, head coach Fleming, himself an astute captain during his playing career, groomed him for the role by holding regular talks. “Last year, Fleming and I always discussed the captaincy thing. After every game we talked about how I was feeling, what changes I felt needed to be made in the bowling and the thinking behind it. So, yes, every game we had one-on-one conversations. “It was really preparing me for it,” Gaikwad said.


CSK’s strength over the years has been consistency. Apart from maintaining the core group, developing a comfortable environment, empowering the players and giving the kind of freedom that is unheard of in other IPL teams has been their hallmark. This has seen players rejected by other franchises flourish in CSK and Gaikwad said, as a captain he will focus on continuing the same culture that helped them develop.

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“Captaincy-wise, I feel I don’t want to play a certain type of role. Just like to let things flow the way they flow. Continue the culture of CSK seamlessly. I think the success we’ve had, the things we’ve been doing… I wouldn’t want to change them one bit. I just want to come in there, take my own decisions and give myself as much freedom as possible, because that’s what has been happening since I started playing for CSK. So nothing really changes and I am enjoying a lot,” Gaikwad said.

That Gaikwad has prepared himself for this role is visible on the field, where he has taken complete ownership of the team. For a captain who was addressing his first press conference, he did not come across as a newbie. And also gave a glimpse of how he sets realistic targets in a tournament like IPL, and not far-fetched ones.

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“In a tournament like IPL, you won’t win 14 out of 14 games, obviously there will be ups and downs. You will definitely lose four, five, six, seven games. So obviously you have to play every game with the same intensity. Sometimes the opposition plays really good cricket. Sometimes the toss matters. Sometimes, you know, we don’t pay attention to some things so there are some things you have to pay attention to. And this year I think every team is a little stronger. Moreover, every team is strong especially on home ground,” Gaikwad said.

Chennai returned to winning ways on Monday after losing two matches against Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad. With Tamil Nadu voting on April 19, CSK are once again on the road as they look to face Mumbai Indians and Lucknow Super Giants in the next 10 days.

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