'It was waste not having Dhoni as CSK captain. Look at the results': De Villiers clarifies pre-IPL 'huge mistake' remark | Crickit
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'It was waste not having Dhoni as CSK captain. Look at the results': De Villiers clarifies pre-IPL 'huge mistake' remark

ByAratrick Mondal
May 23, 2024 06:43 AM IST

MS Dhoni had handed over CSK's captaincy duty to Ruturaj Gaikwad before the start of IPL 2024. Chennai finished fifth in the season.

When the 2024 Indian Premier League (IPL) season began on March 22 in Chennai, former South Africa captain AB de Villiers, ahead of the tournament opener between defending champions Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bengaluru, had reckoned that MS Dhoni's decision to relinquish the captaincy position in CSK was a "huge mistake" as he recalled the infamous Ravindra Jadeja move from the 2022 season. Notably, the 42-year-old had handed over the duties to young Ruturaj Gaikwad on the eve of the season opener at Chepauk.

AB de Villiers felt MS Dhoni should have remained as the captain of CSK
AB de Villiers felt MS Dhoni should have remained as the captain of CSK

With Chennai finishing fifth in IPL 2024, with seven wins and as many losses in the season, De Villers, an IPL expert on JioCinema, doubled down on his pre-season remark, saying that Dhoni should remain the captain of CSK if he is part of the squad. He argued that Dhoni's decision to step down from the leadership role made the five-time champions less intimidating throughout the season, leading to a decline in their performance. He pointed out instances where Dhoni's strategic decisions could have made a difference in crucial matches.

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"I will only give you an honest answer if you're going to report it in the right way, yes, so I wouldn't say I called it a mistake. What I meant by that was with MS Dhoni around, playing against MS for so many years, that is the most intimidating sight to have him as an opposing captain," said de Villiers in response to a query from Hindustan Times during a press interaction.

"They took away quite a bit of intimidation factor from CSK with not having him as captain. It's got nothing to do with Gaikwad’s captaincy. I actually think he's got a very bright future and he captained extremely well," he added.

The former South Africa captain once again revisited the Jadeja move made by Chennai in 2022. Just like in 2024, CSK had named the all-rounder as the new Chennai captain before the start of the season, but with the side languishing to the bottom of the table at the halfway mark in the tournament, Dhoni took over the role yet again.

"Just having MS around, I always felt like it's going to be a waste not having him as captain. They tried it before. It didn't work (when Jadeja was replaced mid season). And unfortunately, this year, yes, you've got to look at the results. The majority of the games they played well, but at the end of the day they didn't qualify for the knockouts. It's definitely not because of Gaikwad's captaincy. I do, however, ever feel that when MS is around, he should be captain," he added.

If there is one thing De Villiers' remark certainly indicated is that if Dhoni does choose to return for the IPL 2025 season amid intense speculation over his future, he wants the World Cup-winning captain to lead the Chennai side yet again.

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