The 2022 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been one to forget thus far and it is unlikely the situation will change in the coming days. The four-time champions are on the brink of falling out contention for the playoffs after their recent 13-run loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore in a season in which they lost their premier fast bowler – Deepak Chahar – to injury and had some uncharacteristic changes in captaincy. (Follow IPL 2022 full coverage)
MS Dhoni, who has been captain of the team since the inaugural season of the IPL, stepped down from the role and handed over the baton to all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja in an announcement that was made hardly two days before the first match of the season. Jadeja could manage only one win in the first half of the league stage and CSK later admitted that the 33-year-old’s individual performances were being affected as they announced that Dhoni would be back as captain for the rest of the season.
Former spinner Harbhajan Singh, who has played for CSK as well as their arch-rivals Mumbai Indians, said that stepping into MS Dhoni’s shoes is not an easy task and it is something that CSK have to plan for.
“When you have a captain like MS Dhoni it is very difficult to have someone come in and do what he has been doing. He has got all the trophies in his cabinet. To replace him is very difficult. I feel he is still the best captain among those playing,” Harbhajan told reporters on the sidelines of a Dream Set Go event.
“They tried Ravindra Jadeja, it didn’t work out, and they went back to MS which is a great thing. Now they will have to see how CSK will perform beyond MS Dhoni, they are big shoes to fill. Let’s see who can actually do the job that MS Dhoni has been doing over the years. Credit to him, taking all the burdens and responsibilities. It is very difficult to run a team and with CSK, he runs the teams, he calls the shots. Let us see if the next captain is as strong minded as him,” he said.
MI have had an even worse season than CSK, becoming the first team to lose their first nine matches in a row. Harbhajan said that both teams may have missed out on the auction table itself.
“Auction didn’t go well for these two teams. They didn’t get too many good players. They have some quality in their teams but the two new teams, Gujarat and Lucknow, have made very strong teams. All the other teams are also looking very strong.
“This is probably the first time we are seeing MI or CSK have made teams in which they don’t have bowlers who can defend 150-odd runs barring Jasprit Bumrah, maybe Ravindra Jadeja from CSK. It is one of those tournaments that has given other teams also a chance. This is a great opportunity for these other teams to showcase what they are about. These teams will come back to that point where they will be challenging,” said Harbhajan.