'Can't be easy with a cloud of Dhoni around you': Hayden, Pathan disgruntled at Gaikwad's 'blunt' captaincy in CSK loss | Crickit
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'Can't be easy with a cloud of Dhoni around you': Hayden, Pathan disgruntled at Gaikwad's 'blunt' captaincy in CSK loss

Apr 06, 2024 01:18 PM IST

Matthew Hayden and Irfan Pathan were not happy with few of Ruturaj Gaikwad's on-field calls in the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday.

Unlike the 2022 situation, where the Ravindra Jadeja-led Chennai Super Kings incurred a forgettable start to the Indian Premier League (IPL) season, losing their first four matches, Ruturaj Gaikwad led the franchise to back-to-back wins, both at home, at the start of the 2024 season. However, after the two straight defeats that followed, both away from home, Gaikwad's captaincy came under the scanner as the likes of Matthew Hayden and Irfan Pathan were left disgruntled at few of his on-field calls in the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday.

Chennai Super Kings' MS Dhoni (2L) and captain Ruturaj Gaikwad (2R) inspect the ball during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match(AFP)
Chennai Super Kings' MS Dhoni (2L) and captain Ruturaj Gaikwad (2R) inspect the ball during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match(AFP)

Speaking to Star Sports after CSK's six-wicket loss in Hyderabad, Hayden highlighted two major errors Gaikwad committed which led to the franchise falling from the top spot to the third position in the points table. The CSK legend felt that with the team struggling in the powerplay, Moeen Ali could have been injected into the batting line-up in a bid to grab the momentum, but the England all-rounder instead did not get his chance with the bat.

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"There were a couple of decisions which weren't quite sharp. When you think of Moeen Ali as an all-rounder, he ended up contributing nicely with the ball, but he should have been batted up the order. He should have been given a licence. They were lagging inside that power play. They were 1 for 49 in the power play. So to me, they needed an injection of some hope and some courage, and Moeen Ali could have provided that," he said.

Hayden further pointed out that Mahesh Theekshana could have been introduced right in the first over against Travis Head rather than waiting till the fourth over.

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"With the ball, I think they probably could have bowled Theekshana straight away to Travis Head. It's a great match-up. Don't wait until the fourth over. He went for plenty of that second over. So for me, Theekshana straight up front against Travis Head could have been a better move," he added.

Gaikwad instead went with the tried and tested formulae of opening with Deepak Chahar and Mukesh Choudhary, but the SRH opener smashed them for 46 runs for the loss of one wicket, which included a 27-run second over against the latter.

The Aussie great's words were backed by Pathan as he added: "I said that in the Hindi commentary as well, that when Mukesh and Deepak Chahar were bowling with the new ball, actually their strength lies with the new ball. So it must be very tough for Ruturaj Gaikwad as well to get Maheesh Theekshana in attack. That temptation would have been there because of Travis Head. I would have actually pushed the same point what Matthew Hayden has said, that get Maheesh Theekshana to bowl. That maybe give a little breather to Mukesh, make him bowl at later stage. To understand where the pressure is left because Mukesh's strength is with the new ball, and yes he hasn't played first-class cricket for literally for 15 months and that's a long time."

Amid the criticism, Hayden reckoned that Gaikwad might be feeling the pressure of having to succeed Dhoni in the leadership role after back-to-back losses.

"I think it can never be easy with a cloud of MS Dhoni around you, and I'm not saying that's because of MS Dhoni. But it is what it is. He is Thala. So Ruturaj Gaikwad might be having that sort of pressure inside him, and maybe his reaction and decision-making process need to be just a little quicker and a little sharper," he concluded.

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