'They chant Dhoni's name… will wait for me to get out': Jadeja not keen on batting higher for CSK in IPL 2023
Despite being the second-most capped CSK cricketer, Ravindra Jadeja bats ahead of Dhoni with the constant fear of letting the millions of CSK fans down.
It's not easy being a middle-order batter in the side featuring MS Dhoni. Yes, the experience helps a lot, mostly during high-pressure run-chases but the fan-following and focus that someone like Dhoni attracts can be daunting at times, especially for the ones coming ahead of Dhoni in the batting order. Take Ravindra Jadeja's example. Despite being the second-most capped Chennai Super Kings cricketer, the experienced India all-rounder bats ahead of Dhoni with the constant fear of letting the millions of CSK fans down.
The chants of 'Dhoni, Dhoni' fill the stands whenever CSK lose three wickets and they keep getting louder with each passing over or fall of another wicket. This shows the love and admiration the fans have for Dhoni and also speaks volumes about the impact that he has left on the game. Even close to three years after his retirement, fans flock to stadiums just to catch a glimpse of Dhoni but it also can act as an added pressure to the ones already batting in the middle or walking out to bat ahead of Dhoni in the middle-order.
In almost every match of IPL 2023, Jadeja has walked out to bat ahead of Dhoni. In fact, the likes of Shivam Dube, and Moeen Ali have all been batting ahead of Dhoni as the CSK captain has been very happy to bat at No.7 or lower. Not that Dhoni was ever keen to bat higher but this year, with the kind of form he has shown with the bat, it has become a popular demand to see the legendary cricketer bat higher.
Jadeja, who was declared Player of the Match for his all-round show against DC on Wednesday, said he already hears 'Dhoni' chants when he is batting in the middle and if he wishes to bat any higher than No.6 then fans might wish for his quick dismissal to see Dhoni walk out.
"I keep hearing Mahi bhai's chants. If I bat higher, then the crowd will wait for me to get out. As long as the team wins, I am happy," he said when asked in the post-match presentation whether he would want to bat higher.
Jadeja scored 21 off 16 and picked up 1/19 in the match that CSK won by 27 runs to almost put one step in the playoffs. Jadeja, who batted at No.7, was well-supported by captain Dhoni, who came in to bat at No.8. Dhoni blasted two sixes and a four in the 19th over, scoring 20 off just 9 balls to help CSK post 167/8.
Dhoni has been scoring at a strike rate of 204 in this IPL and although he hasn't batted for long in any of the matches, he has left an impact almost every time he has walked out to bat.
"This is what my job is, I have told them this is what I am supposed to do, don't make me run a lot and it has been working. This is what I need to do, happy to contribute," Dhoni said about his batting position.