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MS Dhoni reclaims Chennai Super Kings captaincy

MS Dhoni has been asked to take over as captain of Chennai Super Kings (CSK). He is set to hold the position for the remainder of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 after the former CSK captain, Ravindra Jadeja unable to find his rhythm.

It was announced on Saturday that Dhoni would rejoin the franchise he had led since the first season of the IPL He guided CSK to four IPL championships in 2021.

Dhoni stepped down as CSK captain two days before the 2022 IPL season, and he chose Jadeja to take his place. In his first game as CSK captain, Jadeja led the team to a defeat by the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium. The four-time champions of IPL have won just two of their eight games and, as a result, are in last place in the league table.

Jadeja captaincy in IPL 2022

Many thoughts Ravindra Jadeja would fit in as a captain at the Chennai Super Kings before the IPL 2022 season. Like MS Dhoni, he has played cricket for the team for a long time now. As a player, he'd been at the top of his game for the first time.

CSK were bowled out for 61 inside 11 overs in the first match of the IPL season. Although Jadeja had Dhoni for company, the former could only manage 26* off 28 balls – even as the latter rewound the clock and propelled CSK to an acceptable total.

It was just a matter of time before the CSK captain's side succumbed to another setback against the Punjab Kings. His team won the match against RCB, but Jadeja failed to score another run. In the last ten overs, the all-rounder showed glimpses of his best in recent games against the Gujarat Titans Sunrisers Hyderabad.

He may be regarded as one of cricket's greatest all-rounders. Still, a pretty confusing performance against the Punjab Kings at Wankhede Stadium clarifies that something is wrong.

Jadeja has no prior experience as a captain before, and the last time was during his U-19 Saurashtra days. So, it was a giant leap. Not only did he have to fill huge shoes, but the strain of captaining an IPL team is unlike captaining an age-group team.

Jadeja struggles during last ten overs

In 2020, he hit 216.98 in the death overs, regularly smashing bowlers and dominating with his strokes. In 2021, he had to navigate some challenging terrain, and his SR dropped to 190, which is still respectable.

Jadeja has struggled at the end of innings this season, batting with a strike rate of 168.85. This is a notable drop considering this is where he usually steals games. He's been dismissed three times already, averaging 34.33 instead of 57.5 and 47.5 in 2020 and 2021.

Jadeja isn't scoring enough runs late in the game to make up for a slow start. His head was jumbled, and he seemed entirely out of his depth. A difficult pill to swallow, considering how good he played in the T20I series against Sri Lanka in March.

He's been dulled on the ball as well. He has taken 5 wickets at an average of 42.6 and a strike rate of 31.2 in 8 games. He has averaged almost 8 runs per over and has bowled just 156 balls in these eight games, typically under-bowling.

Captaincy seems to be weighing him down right now. While he has all the means to adjust, the strain of knowing that the buck almost always stops with you could be unsettling.

Gian Chacko

Sports enthusiast with love for cricket, football and sports in general. Holds 10+ years of following and writing about sports and lately also betting.