Dhoni places a premium on Ravindra Jadeja, the allrounder

‘We were also losing a great fielder, we are struggling for a deep midwicket fielder’

‘We were also losing a great fielder, we are struggling for a deep midwicket fielder’

That Ravindra Jadeja was announced as M.S. Dhoni’s successor at Chennai Super Kings hours before the Indian Premier League opener in March was no surprise. He was, after all, a key allrounder – on and off the field – for the franchise for a decade. And his retention value was much more than Dhoni’s.

Six weeks hence, Dhoni is back in familiar territory. After marking his return to captaincy with a convincing win over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday, Dhoni explained the rationale behind Jadeja stepping down as captain. 

“We have dropped 17-18 catches and it’s a matter of concern”Dhoni

“What’s important is once you become the captain, you have to take care of a lot of things and that also includes taking care of your own game and with him, his mind was working a lot,” Dhoni told the broadcaster during post-match presentation.

“What I felt was it was having an effect on his game. When he was going into bat or when it comes to his preparation he is putting this burden which is affecting his game because I would love to have Jadeja as a bowler, as a batter and a fielder.”

Jadeja in IPL

IPL 2020: Runs: 232; Average: 46.40; Strike rate: 171.85;
Wickets: 6; Average: 53; Economy rate: 8.75

IPL 2021: Runs: 227; Average: 75.66; Strike rate: 145.51; Wickets: 13; Average: 26.61; Economy rate: 7.06

IPL 2022: Runs: 113; Average: 22.60; Strike rate: 121.51; Wickets: 5; Average: 45.60; Economy rate: 7.86

The statistics reveal that Dhoni’s assessment is accurate. Contrary to the Super Kings’ wobbly form in the last two IPL editions, Jadeja was extremely consistent in the middle overs with the ball and as a finisher with the willow.

Come 2022, and Jadeja’s magic has appeared to be on the wane. Besides losing his touch in his two primary skills, Jadeja – arguably one of the best fielders in the world – has dropped multiple catches.

“Even if you relieve captaincy and you are at your best that’s what we really want because we were also losing a great fielder. We are struggling for a deep midwicket fielder. We have dropped 17-18 catches and it’s a matter of concern,” Dhoni added.

Having passed the captaincy baton back to Dhoni, Jadeja will be eager to get back to his best on the field. He gave a glimpse of it with three quality overs against Sunrisers. With the team needing to win virtually each of its remaining five games, the Super Kings camp will be hoping for Jadeja to cut loose with Dhoni taking over.

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