After MS Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket on August 15, the question on everyone’s mind is how long will his innings with Chennai Super Kings continue. More importantly, when the captain who has guided the IPL franchise to three titles retires, who will succeed him.
Dhoni has been thinking about the next captain for some time, said his teammate, all-rounder Dwayne Bravo. “I know it’s been in the back of his mind for some time. All of us have to step aside at some point of time. It’s just the matter of when… when to step aside and hand it over to whether it’s a Raina or someone younger,” Bravo was quoted as saying by ABP News.
Bravo said Dhoni’s retirement from international cricket will have no effect on how he captains CSK. “He doesn’t have to worry about a billion people now. It’s just CSK the franchise, but I don’t think that’ll change the person he is, it won’t change how he leads the team, definitely he’ll be the same person,” Bravo said.
He said the CSK team has been successful not just because of the players but also because of the management. “We have a very talented squad, full of experience and also we have a management staff, that is very relaxed and balanced and also the owners… All these things come together and play a part (in CSK’s success). We don’t have any outside pressure from the owners or the management. We don’t feel under pressure with MS (Dhoni) as captain,” Bravo said.
He said the team’s fans have also played a crucial role in its achievements. “I think CSK have one of the most loyal fans. Whether we play in Mumbai, Delhi or Bangalore, you see a lot of yellow shirts in the stands. We enjoy each other’s success, so these are the main reasons behind the success of CSK.”
Bravo mentioned Raina could be a likely successor to Dhoni. The swashbuckling southpaw has been with the CSK for a long time and he has been one of the most trusted and loyal aides of Dhoni. Captaincy could be the next logical step for the 31-year-old who has the vice-captain of the team. He had captained Gujarat Lions in 2016-17 when CSK was suspended from the IPL.
There are few other likely candidates besides Raina. Shane Watson has the experience of captaining teams in the IPL. He led the Rajasthan Royals in 2014. The team finished fifth that year. He also captained Royal Challengers Bangalore when Virat Kohli was absent. In international cricket, Watson, who was the vice-captain of the Australian team, has led them in a few matches. However, age is not on his side. Like Dhoni, he is also 39 and may hang up his boots soon.
The other likely candidate who could lead the CSK is Faf du Plessis. The 36-year-old right-handed batsman is the former captain of the South African team. During his stint as the captain, he led the South African team in 40 T20s, winning 25 of them.
Bravo could himself consider to be in the race. The former captain, he was a key member of the West Indian teams that lifted the 2012 and 2016 ICC T20 World Cups. The genuine all-rounder is currently in his second stint with the CSK after joining them in 2018. He was earlier in the CSK from 2011 to 2015. His hitting ability with the bat, great athleticism while fielding, and his utility as a bowler make him a good T20 player.
Murali Vijay also has experience as a captain, having led Kings XI Punjab in 2016. The team had, however, come last.