There is no denying Ravindra Jadeja is a rockstar on the cricket field. But as the captain of the Chennai Super Kings in the ongoing IPL 2022, the country’s premier all-rounder looked like a ‘fish out of water’, believes former India head coach Ravi Shastri.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni relinquished his CSK captaincy role and passed on the baton to Ravindra Jadeja just two days before the start of the tournament last month. Under Jadeja, CSK could win just two matches out of the first eight in the competition.
“He (Jadeja) is not a natural captain. He hasn't captained at any level. So, to give him the responsibility I thought was a little hard on Jadeja,” Shastri was quoted as saying. “People might want to judge Jaddu, but it’s not his fault. He hasn’t captained anywhere.
“He looked a fish out of water, totally out of place and he's far better off playing as a player. Because he's one of the best around in the business, when it comes to allrounders,” added Shastri, whose term ended after India’s disastrous T20 World Cup campaign last year.
Before coming into IPL 2022, Ravindra Jadeja was in superb form against Sri Lanka at home. While he had a quiet T20 series with 70 runs and just two wickets from three matches, Jadeja made most of the Test series finishing as the highest-run getter for India with 201 beside his name including a sensational 175 not out in the first Test.
He also took 10 wickets in two Tests against Sri Lanka. However, the captaincy burden at CSK affected Ravindra Jadeja’s form as it went down in the ongoing season with just 116 runs and five wickets to show from 10 games so far.
The last time Ravindra Jadeja captained a cricket side was on 28 October 2007 when he led Saurashtra U19 against Mumbai U19 in the Vinoo Mankad U19 tournament at the Western Railway Ground in Rajkot!#CSK𓃬 #IPL2022— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) March 24, 2022
“Once you become captain, it means a lot of demands come in. But it affected his mind as the tasks grew. I think captaincy burdened his prep and performances,” MS Dhoni has said after Ravindra Jadeja relinquished his role to bring his senior back to the job.
“So let him just focus on his cricket. That (decision to give him the captaincy) cost CSK a few games early on. If you see the form, they're in now, if they had this going early on, they'll be right up there in the mix,” Shastri opined. Under MS Dhoni, CSK have won two out of three games in IPL 2022.
Shastri also believes that MS Dhoni should lead CSK next year too if the former India skipper is fit and ready to play.
However, the 40-year-old himself has kept everyone in the cloud stating, “You’ll definitely see me in the yellow jersey, whether it is this one, or some other one, you never know.”
While it is still unclear that MS Dhoni won’t be donning the captain’s hat at CSK next season, Shastri felt that the four-time IPL champions should take their time before finding a suitable option for that position.
“Within the mix, if you think Ruturaj (Gaikwad) has, or Moeen (Ali) or even a local player, if there's someone who you think has that ability to lead a side, go for it,” Shastri added.