Chennai Super Kings veteran Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Sunday downplayed his return as captain and the team’s comfortable Indian Premier League 2022 victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad as a mere “coincidence”.
Openers Ruturaj Gaikwad (99) and Devon Conway (85 not out) put on this season’s best stand of 182 to guide Chennai to 202/2, a total their bowlers defended by restricting Hyderabad to 189/6 in Sunday’s second match in Pune.
Dhoni, who gave up the captaincy ahead of IPL 2022, accepted the job back on Saturday after Ravindra Jadeja stepped down following the team’s six losses from eight games but played down the leadership switch.
The 40-year-old, who led India to two World Cup titles, received a rousing welcome when he walked out for the toss with Hyderabad skipper Kane Williamson who put Chennai in to bat.
Dhoni said Jadeja’s all-round form seemed to have affected his game which led to the captaincy changeover midway.
Here’s the full text of what Dhoni said at the post-match presentation ceremony after CSK’s win on Sunday:
On win against SRH...
“It was a very good score to start off. When you put that kind of a score, it’s slightly easier for the bowlers to defend.
“I did nothing different, when you are in the same dressing room you keep saying the same things. It’s not like when you change the captain a lot of things change. It’s one of those coincidences where we got off to a good start, made the most of the pitch and forced the bowlers to bowl the areas where we wanted to hit.
“I think the kind of target we got was a very good one. And after that you needed some really good bowling because a bit of dew comes later and makes it slightly difficult. The phase that really worked for us was after the sixth over, the ball started holding a bit. With dew it becomes slightly easier while chasing. If the opposition gets a good start, they can even chase down 200 runs.”
On change in captaincy...
“Between me and Jadeja, we knew last year that he will be given a chance to captain this year. He knew and got enough time to prepare. What is important is you want him to lead the side and I wanted that transition to happen. In the first couple of games this season I was giving more information to Jaddu but then I left it to him to decide angles he wanted. Because at the end of the season, you don’t want him to feel as if the captaincy was done by someone else and I’m just going for toss.
“So it was a gradual transition where I said this is what I’ll do – I’ll take care of the fielding angles and everything for the first couple of games but after that I thought he should decide things on his own. Because that’s the only way you’ll learn what captainship is. Spoon-feeding doesn’t really help the captain, on the field you have to take those crucial decisions and you have to take responsibility for those decisions.”
On Jadeja’s game being affected...
“Once you become the captain, we have to take care of lot many things and that also includes your own game. And with him the thing was that his mind was working a lot. It’s not easy to control your mind, it’s the strongest feature. Body, physics and all those things are fine but once your mind starts working and it wants to contribute more it doesn’t really stop. So what really happens is that the individual is not able to relax. Even when he closes his eyes and wants to sleep, the mind is still working.
“So I felt it was having an effect on his game. Is this burden affecting his game? Because I would love Jadeja as a bowler, batter and fielder. Even if you relieve captainship and if you are at your best and that’s what we want. We were also losing a great fielder, we are struggling for a deep mid-wicket fielder, still we have dropped 17-18 catches and that’s a matter of concern.”
Inputs from AFP