Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Faf du Plessis conceded that MS Dhoni returning as Chennai Super Kings captain mid-way during the IPL 2022 season was indeed a surprise for him. The South African star’s comments came ahead of the much-anticipated Southern Derby clash between RCB and CSK at the MCA Stadium in Pune on Wednesday, May 4.
Faf du Plessis, who had spent nearly a decade with Chennai Super Kings before taking over from Virat Kohli as RCB captain ahead of the IPL 2022 season, added that he was also surprised at how Dhoni had stepped down from the role just 2 days ahead of the new season.
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In a dramatic turn of events on Saturday, April 30, Chennai Super Kings said in a media release that Ravindra Jadeja decided to hand over the CSK captaincy back to MS Dhoni to focus more on his game. Jadeja, who was appointed as the CSK captain at the start of the season, managed to lead the side to just 2 wins in their first 8 games. Jadeja’s personal form took a beating as the burden of captaincy was seemingly weighing him down.
CSK confirmed that Dhoni agreed to take over captaincy again just after 8 matches into the IPL 2022 season. Dhoni made a winning return as captain as CSK hammered SunRisers Hyderabad by 13 runs in Pune on Sunday, May 1 to keep their hopes of reaching the play-offs alive.
“I am surprised that it’s happened in-season. I am also surprised that it happened the way that it did in the start of the season. So the two surprises almost canceling each other out,” Faf du Plessis told RCB.
Notably, Dhoni himself shed light on the change in captaincy at CSK, saying Jadeja indeed felt the burden of captaincy and that he would rather prefer the all-rounder delivering with the bat, ball and on the field without having any baggage.
The South African star, who knows the CSK framework inside out after all those years at Chennai, said RCB should be wary of a charged-up Chennai unit under Dhoni.
“So obviously, there is no secret there. I think when MS is there, when he is captain, he does get the best out of the players. That’s been a big part of CSK’s success. That’s a big challenge for us, we have to make sure that’s not a factor tomorrow (Wednesday).”
There’s a bit of added pressure for RCB as they are looking to avoid a 2nd defeat to CSK in the ongoing season. RCB had lost to their arch-rivals by 23 runs after conceding 216 runs at the DY Patil Stadium in the return leg.
RCB are heading into the crunch contest on the back of a 3-match losing streak but Director of Cricket MIke Hesson believes the former finalists can pose trouble to CSK.
“We got some confidence out of the last game from things that we did a lot better. We just look for that little extra point of difference. Our middle-over bowling has been one of the best in the competition. We know their strengths. We are going to try and apply pressure in different ways,” Hesson said.