Chennai Super Kings’ decision to appoint Ravindra Jadeja as their skipper a couple of days before the start of IPL 2022 did not end up well. CSK lost six out of their first 8 matches and were on the brink before Jadeja decided to hand back the captaincy mantle to MS Dhoni. The star all-rounder, who was CSK’s first retention, possibly an indication that he was going to lead them from this season onwards, looked out of sorts in the field as captain. The burden of leadership affected his performance too. He scored just 98 runs in 10 matches at a strike rate of 118 and picked up only 5 wickets with the ball. Reacting on Jadeja’s performance as captain in IPL 2022, former India head coach Ravi Shastri said the all-rounder looked a ‘fish out of water’.
Shastri, who has worked with Jadeja for four years when he was India’s head coach till last year’s T20 World Cup, said the lack of experience of leading a big side hurt Jadeja’s chances.
“He (Jadeja) is not a natural captain. He hasn’t captained at any level. So, to give him the responsibility I thought was a little hard on Jadeja,” Shastri said on ESPNcricinfo’s T20 Time Out.
“People might want to judge Jaddu, but it’s not his fault. He hasn’t captained anywhere. He looked a fish out of water, totally out of place and he’s far better off playing as a player.”
Shastri said if CSK had let Jadeja function only as a player it would have not only improved their chances of making it to the playoffs but also helped the left-hander play his natural game.
“He’s one of the best around in the business, when it comes to allrounders. So let him just focus on his cricket. That [decision to give him the captaincy] cost CSK a few games early on. If you see the form they’re in now, if they had this going early on, they’ll be right up there in the mix,” Shastri added.
After Dhoni took over the mantle from Jadeja, CSK won two out of their three matches and are still with an outside chance of making it to the playoffs. Jadeja, meanwhile missed CSK’s last match against DC due to an injury.
Shastri was of the opinion that CSK also missed the services of Jadeja the fielder.
“Another aspect of Jadeja is he is one of the best fielders, if not the best. When you’re the best, you have to patrol the deep, where there are sweepers or you need deep midwicket, deep square-leg, long-on, long-off. These are areas the best fielders go to because of their ability to cover distances and catch the ball. If you’re captain of the side and you hedge your bets wanting to be in the circle to marshall resources and control things, your side is the loser,” he added.