IPL 2024: CSK without Dhoni as captain; DC with Pant back and GT to be led by Gill


Chennai Super Kings's MS Dhoni meets Royal Challengers Bengaluru's skipper Faf du Plessis during a practice session ahead of their match in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024, at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Thursday (ANI)

The Baroda-born cricketer is set to captain Mumbai Indians (MI), replacing their five-time Indian Premier League (IPL) trophy-winning skipper Rohit Sharma in the 2024 season of the cash-rich league

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Team India skipper Rohit Sharma shared a special post for MS Dhoni following the latter’s decision to step down as Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper on Thursday just a day before the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024.

The 17th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will kick off on March 22, with last year’s champions going head to head with the Faf Du Plessis-led Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) in a South Indian derby at the latter’s home arena–MA Chidambaram Stadium.

After the CSK’s official announcement, Rohit shared a picture along with Dhoni on his Instagram story with a handshake emoji.

The five-time champion led the CSK in 212 IPL matches, winning 128 matches and losing 82. Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket on August 15, 2020, after leading the team to glory in the 2007 T20 World Cup, 2011 ODI World Cup and the 2013 Champions Trophy.

Last year, Dhoni led the Chennai franchise to a record-equalling fifth IPL title against the Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad. The 42-year-old, who remains one of Indian cricket’s most admired faces, enjoying fandom that rivals that of some current stars, captained Chennai since the inaugural IPL season in 2008, barring two years when the franchise was suspended from the tournament over fixing charges.

Having chosen all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja as their skipper in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) head coach Stephen Fleming on Thursday revealed that CSK was hesitant to replace MS Dhoni.

Ahead of the curtain-raiser of IPL 2024 against Royal Challengers Bengaluru in Chennai, CSK announced that opening batter Ruturaj Gaikwad would take the captaincy baton from the 42-year-old. The announcement marked the end of Dhoni’s long reign at the helm of the CSK, during which he led Chennai to five IPL crowns.

In IPL 2022, Dhoni handed over the captaincy to Jadeja. However, he returned to lead the franchise again after just eight matches into the edition.

“The big thing about a couple of years ago was that we probably weren’t ready for MS [Dhoni] to move aside and what that did was probably shake us as a leadership group or coaches into looking at the possibility of when he does go and up until that stage that was almost unthinkable,” Fleming said in a press conference.

Fleming stated that Dhoni had looked encouraging in practice matches leading up to the IPL and hoped he would not experience any fitness difficulties during the competition. The 42-year-old, who remains one of Indian cricket’s most admired faces, enjoying fandom that rivals that of some current stars, captained Chennai since the inaugural IPL season in 2008, barring two years when the franchise was suspended from the tournament over fixing charges.

“Rishabh wants to get bit of trust back in his body again”: Ponting

Delhi Capitals (DC) head coach Ricky Ponting revealed that after being sidelined for 14 months, captain Rishabh Pant is putting extra effort into putting a bit of trust back in his body again as DC gear up for Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024.

DC will open their IPL 2024 campaign against Punjab Kings (PBKS) at the Maharaja Yadavindra Singh International Cricket Stadium in Chandigarh on Saturday.

The wicketkeeper-batter is making a return to professional cricket after 14 months and has been a part of the Delhi Capitals pre-season preparatory camp in Vizag. Pant suffered a near-fatal accident in December 2022, resulting in a year-long recuperation period and forcing him to miss last year’s IPL.

DC confirmed the 26-year-old as the captain of the franchise in an official statement.

“He has probably batted more in the last week than he has ever batted leading into most of the IPLs. I think from his point of view, he wants to get a bit of trust back in his body again. He has been putting himself through a few different paces and playing all the shots that he plays. He has been great, and more importantly, he has got a smile on his face, which is what all we love to see,” Ponting said of Pant’s approach at the pre-season camp in an officials statement by DC.

Meanwhile, the Director of Cricket Sourav Ganguly shared some insights on Pant’s readiness for the upcoming season and said the wicket-keeper batter had gone through an emotional roller-coaster during his recovery journey.

“I’m surprised with the improvements he has made. Hopefully, it’s a good season for him because he has gone through a lot emotionally. It’s never easy when you go through that sort of injury. It will be great to see him back not just for the Delhi Capitals, but for the Delhi Ranji team and for India as well because he is a special talent, a special player,” Ganguly reflected.

Pant has represented DC since 2016 and scored 2,838 runs in 98 matches at an average of 34.61 and a strike rate of over 147, with a century and 15 fifties to his name.

The star wicketkeeper-batter was reappointed as the captain of Delhi Capitals earlier this week.

Ponting added that Pant exudes an infectious enthusiasm that draws teammates to him.

Williamson heaps praise on Shubman Gill

Ahead of his debut as skipper of his IPL franchise and last year’s runners-up Gujarat Titans, Indian batting prodigy Subhman Gill received glowing praise from marquee teammate Kane Williamson.

In a chat a day before the curtains go up on this year’s Indian Premier League, Williamson, who carried the leadership mantle on his sholduers for New Zealand for a number of years, spoke highly of young Gill’s leadership skills saying he is blessed with a ‘cricketing brain’, which will help him to lead the franchise in the upcoming edition of the cash-rich domestic league.

Calling Gill, who scored a couple of centuris in a phenemonal red-ball series against England at home, as a ‘world class’ cricketer, the premier Kiwi batter said he has already spent a bit of time with the 24-year-old off the field during the last edition of the league and is ‘excited’ for the new season.

“Firstly, he is a world class player and has a really good cricketing brain. I spent a bit of time with him last year and is excited to play alongside him again in this IPL season,” Williamson said.

Asked if he would share his leadership experience with the young batter as he gets ready to don the skipper’s hat at Gujarat Titans and lead his team out on the field, the former New Zealand captain, who is ranked among the top batters in world cricket today, said he would be ‘supporting’ Gill in ‘any and whatever way’ he would like.

Williamson added that Gill needs to be ‘authentic’ and back his batting and leadership abilities in the 17th season of the IPL.

“I look forward to supporting Shubman Gill in any way that I can or whatever way that he would like. But ultimately, its about Shubman being authentic to himself and backing himself and I know that everyone would really support him with all that and look forward to doing that,” he added.

Asked if the IPL 2024 would help all overseas stars to prepare for the upcoming T20 World Cup, which would be co-hosted by the Caribbean and the US, the 33-year-old said it will be a ‘positive thing’ to be playing the cash-rich league right ahead of the premier world event but his focus will be on the IPL.

“I would not say the word preparation. It’s nice that there’s a lot of T20 cricket now. If you factor in the IPL and on the back of it, the T20 World Cup,. So. I am sure all the players involved would enjoy that… So, that’s a positive thing but the focus is on the tournament,” he added.

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