When MS Dhoni was sacked as skipper for the first time in his career

MS Dhoni is one of India’s most famous cricketers, having brought multiple glories to the nation as the captain of the Indian cricket team. Dhoni has placed Indian cricket at the top of the world rankings and has also won the Indian Premier League (IPL) four times with Chennai Super Kings (CSK), which is the second of all teams, after Mumbai Indians. While Dhoni is considered India’s most successful skipper for his major ICC leadership qualities, there was a time in the legendary Indian cricketer’s career, when he was relieved of his captaincy.

Why was MS Dhoni sacked as skipper?

Dhoni managed the Chennai-based IPL franchise from 2008 to 2015 and joined Rising Pune Supergiants in 2016 after CSK was suspended for two years. Following the team’s poor performance in the 2016 season, the management of the now defunct team surprisingly decided to remove Dhoni as captain in 2016 and hand over the baton to the then Australian skipper, Steve Smith.

“Dhoni hasn’t quit. We’ve appointed Steve Smith as skipper for the upcoming season. Frankly we didn’t have a good last season and we wanted someone young to lead the team and revamp it before the upcoming season 10,” RPS owner Sanjeev Goenka was quoted by PTI. The team’s decision came under heavy criticism from cricketer fans in India as the cricketer’s stature and stats suggested he was ahead of everyone else in terms of planning a game and managing pressure situations.

MS Dhoni lifted the IPL trophy in 2018 after leaving the RPS

The team reached the IPL Finals in 2017 under Smith’s guidance and with Dhoni’s role behind the stumps, however, bowed out in the finals after suffering a loss by a one-point margin. Chasing a weak target of 129 runs, the RPS hitters were slow with their strike rate and thus missed the opportunity to win the title.

Meanwhile, RPS’ decision to remove Dhoni from the captaincy was quickly proven wrong as he led CSK to their third trophy victory on their return in 2018. Over the years, Dhoni and CSK have earned the reputation to trust experienced activists as a core group, while investing in young people for the future.

The rise of MS Dhoni and CSK after hitting an all-time low in 2020

After retiring from international cricket in 2020, CSK hit a low by failing to qualify for the playoffs and finishing with their worst results. However, CSK returned with incidentally the same group of players in 2021 and added the fourth IPL trophy to their vault. The team has some exciting players in the IPL 2022 mega auction, alongside best buys from Deepak Chahar, Dwayne Bravo, Ambati Rayudu and others. Ravindra Jadeja, Dhoni, Moeen Ali and Ruturaj Gaikwad were the four players retained by the team ahead of the auction.

(Image: @BCCI/IPL)