'Thala' MS Dhoni steps down as CSK captain, Ruturaj Gaikwad named new skipper

Ruturaj has been an integral part of Chennai Super Kings since 2019

What will be Dhoni's tactical ploy to stop the dashing 'Mohali Marauder' is there to be seen | PTI MS Dhoni (2L) with Ruturaj Gaikwad (R) PTI

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, at 42, has stepped down as the captain of IPL heavyweights Chennai Super Kings, the team confirmed on Thursday. Top-order batter Ruturaj Gaikwad will lead the defending champions during TATA IPL 2024.Β 

Gaikwad, 27, who has played six ODIs and 19 T20s for India, made his CSK debut in 2020 and has gone on to represent the five-time IPL champions in 52 games. The stylish opener had a memorable run last year, aggregating 590 runs in 16 games at an impressive strike rate of 147.50.Β He has had led the Indian team to the gold medal in the Asian Games last year.

"Ruturaj has been an integral part of Chennai Super Kings since 2019 and has played 52 matches in IPL during this period. The team looks forward to the upcoming season," CSK said in a statement released on its official website.

In a post on X, the Indian Premier League confirmed the development, a day before CSK take on Royal Challengers Bangalore.

"Presenting @ChennaiIPL's Captain - @Ruutu1331," the IPL posted on X shortly after releasing a picture of all captains posing with the IPL trophy.

On March 4, Dhoni declared via social media that a "new role" awaits him in the "new season." The former India captain, who led the Chennai Super Kings to their fifth IPL title last season, however, neither mentioned the league nor elaborated on the new role, leaving everyone guessing.

"Can't wait for the new season and the new 'role'. Stay tuned!," Dhoni wrote in a rare social media post on Facebook.

Besides stellar success in the IPL, Dhoni led CSK to two titles in the defunct Champions League. CSK made as many as 10 finals under Dhoni's captaincy. If one includes his 14 games for Rising Pune Supergiant, that extends his IPL captaincy tenure to 226 IPL games with Rohit Sharma being a distant second (158 games).

Last year, the 42-year-old mostly came out to bat towards the fag end of CSK innings.Β 

At the post-match ceremony after winning the final last year, Dhoni was asked if he would retire on a high, but the Ranchi dasher, in his inimitable style, deflected the query by saying that it would amount to taking an easy way out.

He went on to add that he would try to come back next season as CSK captain if his body allowed him. CSK are set to take on Royal Challengers Bangalore in their tournament opener on March 22.Β 

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