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IPL 2024: 'Last Year Itself, Mahi Bhai Hinted Me About Captaincy', Says Gaikwad

IPL 2024: MS Dhoni handed over CSK's captaincy to Ruturaj Gaikwad on Thursday (21 March).

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Chennai Super Kings (CSK) newly appointed captain Ruturaj Gaikwad admitted that MS Dhoni himself has given him the hint of captaincy transition during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, saying "be ready for something big."

However, the hint came true just a day before the CSK opener against Royal Challengers Bengaluru at MA Chidambaram Stadium on Friday, the five-time IPL winner sprung a surprise by naming right-handed opener Gaikwad as their new captain for the IPL 2024 season.

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'Mahi Bhai Had Hinted About Captaincy': Ruturaj Gaikwad

"Last year itself, Mahi bhai had hinted about captaincy at some point of tim," Gaikwad told IPLT20.com. "He just hinted that, 'be ready, it shouldn't be a surprise to you'. When we came into the camp, he involved me in some of the match simulations."

Prior to the start of the IPL, Dhoni shared a cryptic post on Facebook which read "Can't wait for the new season and the new 'role'. Stay tuned!", leaving his fans in awe. His post was however taken as a promotional campaign toward the broadcasters where he performed a dual role in the IPL promo ad.

"I remember him posting about a new role on social media and everybody was pointing towards me and asking me, 'are you the next captain?'. I was like, 'maybe it meant something else for social media'. But back of the mind, it was there. He came and said, 'I've decided this and this', but definitely now that I'm here, I'm looking forward to this," Gaikwad said.

Gaikwad Meets Faf Du Plessis

He further recalled his first meeting as captain, where he met his former CSK opening partner Faf du Plessis, who now captains RCB, Gaikwad said, "I just met Faf at the (captains') meeting and he said, 'who would've thought a few years down the line, you are playing and leading RCB and me sharing the stage with you at the toss'," Gaikwad recalled.

"A lot to look forward to. It (opening game) is one of the most exciting first-day games to look forward to," he added.

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CSK secured the services of Gaikwad at the IPL 2019 player auction and since then he hasn’t disappointed with the bat. The team had gambled on Gaikwad as a player for the future in the IPL 2020 season using him as an anchoring opener who could attack when necessary.

Making his IPL debut, CSK gave Gaikwad six matches, and he went on to score 204 runs with an impressive average of 51.00.

Gaikwad amassed an incredible 635 runs for champion CSK in 2021 as he left a big impression on Indian cricket fans, claiming the Orange Cap for scoring the most runs in the tournament.

At the end of the 2021 season, Gaikwad scored 70 against Delhi Capitals in the qualifier and combined with Faf du Plessis for 61 in the final, leading CSK to 192, which proved to be ample.

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'It Feels Great': Ruturaj Gaikwad On Taking Over CSK Captaincy

"It feels great for two reasons," Gaikwad said of his new role. "To be part of this wonderful franchise right from when my IPL journey started and then to be trusted by MS Dhoni for a leadership role speaks a lot. The challenge lies ahead and I'm looking forward to it.

"I've got to know how the franchise works throughout the year, got to know their mantra, the reasons behind their success, what kind of things the franchise goes through, what Mahi bhai or the support staff do. I wouldn't like to change a single bit of it," he concluded.

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