MS Dhoni Steps down ending a Journey as the Face of Chennai Super Kings: IPL 2022

MS Dhoni steps down

After years of leading CSK, after being the face of Chennai Super Kings, and after a long period of memories, MS Dhoni finally steps down to send the IPL into a sense of unknown. CSK finally has a new captain with Ravindra Jadeja taking over the reins, as MS Dhoni lets go the way he started.

His resignation from IPL captaincy effectively ends his captaincy career in Cricket, and it has been a spectacular career. He began with a win in the 2007 T20 World Cup and now finishes with another trophy in his last season as captain.

As a captain, MS Dhoni has seen everything with CSK. He started off leading a side full of seniors and some incredible legends. The initial stages had big names like Matthew Hayden, Stephen Fleming, Andrew Flintoff and Mike Hussey. Each of them were capable leaders themselves, and nearly legends at the time, but MS Dhoni was still backed as skipper and led the side with consistency.

He backed the growth of youngsters like Suresh Raina, Murali Vijay, Subramaniam Badrinath, Ravichandran Ashwin and later Ravindra Jadeja. Through the initial stages, MS Dhoni used his young talent incredibly, sending players likes Suresh Raina up the order, and finding a role for stroke-makers likes Subramaniam Badrinath.

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His legacy grew, and with the help of a nice mix of young and experienced, MS Dhoni led the team to a title in 2010 after getting close in the previous seasons. The season saw some interesting captaincy moments as well from MS Dhoni. One incident was in the finals. With Pollard raging and threatening to take the game away singlehandedly, MS Dhoni went with an unorthodox field setting. He placed Hayden at a straight mid-off position, next to the bowler’s run-up mark, and the move worked as a catch came straight to him.

 There was mega-auction in 2011, and MS Dhoni along with the franchise were adamant in bringing back some of the old players. Dhoni’s captaincy style suggests that he doesn’t like chopping and changing until necessary, and after a successful auction CSK had their old names back and went on to dominate and win another trophy. He used his bowlers well, and his move to give Ashwin the new-ball against an inform Gayle eventually turned out to be the gamechanger for CSK.

Through his captaincy, MS Dhoni brought out interesting tactics and his approach to Gayle and Pollard were among some of his interesting moves. He struggled in 2012, but managed to make the playoffs, and led like a boss as CSK went to the Finals. In 2013, CSK again bossed the league stage, but external issues came in and the tournament quickly became one to forget with MS Dhoni’s name in the rounds.

In 2014 and 2015, CSK did a fair job again, and 2014 was a rare occasion which saw MS Dhoni get upset with his team. He led the team into the playoffs, but criticized the bowlers and seniors on their poor performances publicly.

Following 2015, the suspension took place with Dhoni leading Pune for an year and then being dropped as captain the following year. He came back roaring in the following season, and helped develop some young talent yet again. He played a key role in the growth of Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur, backing them through 2018 and 2019.

MS Dhoni ends his tenure with four IPL titles and 2 CLT20 Titles

MS Dhoni also found ways to use veterans Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir successfully. After leading legends in the 2008 season, MS Dhoni found himself leading another group of experienced and star cricketers with Shane Watson and Faf Du Plessis in the mix. The biggest achievement in this period along with the trophy though was Ravindra Jadeja’s resurgence. During IPL 2018, Jadeja was out of the limited-overs set-up, but a strong tournament, and some growth in his batting saw him gain senior status in Chennai and a spot in the white-ball teams. He has now grown into India’s best all-rounder. His association with MS Dhoni goes back a long way, with him making his international debut under the same man.

Through Jadeja’s career, he stayed away from experiments and listened to Dhoni at every step, helping him increase his bond with Dhoni. In the disastrous 2020 season, with MS Dhoni struggling with the bat and the team struggling with their players, Ravindra Jadeja came out as a bright spot. He rose to the occasion yet again in 2021, and the year saw MS Dhoni make some incredible moves as a captain. He used Jadeja across the batting line-up, and gave the all-rounder a lot more responsibilities than in previous seasons.

Due to the growth in the last four years, it makes sense for MS Dhoni to back his protegee as CSK’s new face. He has been with CSK since 2012, and knows the logistics in the franchise better than anyone. For MS Dhoni though, it is the end of an era which saw him grow into the most successful captain in the IPL. He is still around as a player living up to the “ I haven’t left behind” phrase he used in his final post-match presentation with Harsha Bhogle.

With MS Dhoni stepping down, the IPL itself will be heading into an unknown path. It has already seen Virat Kohli step down, David Warner leave Hyderabad, and Suresh Raina go unsold, giving fans a lot to adapt to as they will have to see a string of new things in the upcoming season. While there is a lot of new, there is a lot to be happy about as well, with MS Dhoni still around, and Ravindra Jadeja finally scaling a massive peak after years of hardwork and struggle.