'We never interfered in cricket matters': CSK CEO aims veiled dig at MI over MS Dhoni-Ruturaj Gaikwad captaincy switch | Crickit

'We never interfered in cricket matters': CSK CEO aims veiled dig at MI over MS Dhoni-Ruturaj Gaikwad captaincy switch

May 23, 2024 01:41 PM IST

Ruturaj Gaikwad was handed the CSK captaincy a day before the start of the season, with MS Dhoni relinquishing his leadership role.

The 2024 season of the Indian Premier League saw major leadership changes at two of the most successful franchises in the league, Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians. While the CSK announced a day before their IPL opener that MS Dhoni had handed over the captaincy to Ruturaj Gaikwad, the switch was rather controversial at MI. In December last year, the returning Hardik Pandya was handed the captaincy of the franchise as the all-rounder replaced Rohit Sharma as the new skipper.

Ruturaj Gaikwad (L) greets Hardik Pandya after an IPL 2024 match(IPL)
Ruturaj Gaikwad (L) greets Hardik Pandya after an IPL 2024 match(IPL)

The announcement divided opinions with many of MI fans criticising the decision; the fans didn't warm up to Hardik when the season began, too, as Hardik was booed at the Wankhede Stadium in the opening few matches. The controversy had an impact on MI's performances, too, as the side finished at the bottom of the table with only four wins in 14 matches.

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In contrast, Gaikwad received a warm welcome in his new role in Chennai, and CSK only marginally failed to qualify for the Playoffs, lagging behind on net run rate. The franchise's CEO, Kasi Viswanathan, spoke in detail about CSK's captaincy switch and while he didn't take MI's name, he implied that the smooth transition helped the fans, as well as the fellow team members who warmed up to Ruturaj Gaikwad.

“The discussions we had with the team management from before a couple of years when Ruturaj came into the CSK and started performing well, we felt that he will be a good choice to captain the side. Both Flem (Fleming) and MS (Dhoni) had long discussions with him, they had plans to make him as a future captain,” Viswanathan told CSK in a YouTube video.

“His performances and also the way he approached the game, and his thoughts whenever he spoke with MS as well as Fleming… both of them felt that he'll be a good captain at CSK. And we were not disappointed. He led the side comfortably. The seniors also helped him. It has not affected his performance with the bat. He has continued to be a very consistent performer.

“The pressure of captaincy has not affected him. We look forward to his contribution to CSK in the future. The pressure is too high because he's following the footsteps of MS Dhoni. Nobody can match him, but MS had the confidence that Rutu (Gaikwad) has it in him to do a very good job. The acceptance from the crowd really helped him for sure, that is for sure. Because if there is pressure from the crowd, you can imagine what happened to other captains.”

'We don't interfere in cricket matters'

Viswanathan further stressed that the CSK management hasn't interfered in cricket-related decisions, that helped Gaikwad – as well as the other members of the Super Kings side – with clarity in decision-making.

“I think CSK fans accepted what MS Dhoni had given to Ruturaj as captain because he (Dhoni) had chosen him. The team management chose him as the captain. And all of you know, never has the management of CSK interfered with the cricketing matters. So, that helped Rutu also, because he was very clear that the instructions have come from team management. He had the responsibility to deliver. I'm confident he will do very well in the future years also,” said the CSK CEO.

“Definitely, the CSK management, as well as the fans, have helped the CSK team to do very well. That is important because there is no interference in creating matters with the team. They are left with their job to do. It adds more responsibility to the team. They know now there is not going to be interference from the management, which means they have to deliver. They are professionals; they have to deliver. That has helped us.”

CSK finished with 7 wins and as many losses in 14 matches throughout the season, and finished fifth in the points table.

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