This is it for Ravindra Jadeja’s IPL run. He won’t be appearing in upcoming matches due to a rib injury, which he picked up when he attempted a catch after running in from the deep against Royal Challengers Bangalore on May 4. He was able to finish that game, but he was unable to play during the Chennai Super Kings’ last match, which was against Delhi Capitals.
Both Jadenja and the franchise agreed it was best for him to recover and sit out the remainder of the season, according to Kasi Viswanathan, Super Kings’ chief executive officer.
“He has a bruised rib. The medical advice is that he should not strain it, so we have decided that he should leave the IPL.” Viswanathan said.
Currently, the Super Kings are ranked ninth on the points table, with eight points from 11 games. The team needs to win all their remaining games and hope other results will favor them, in order to qualify for the playoffs.
The game against the Capitals was only the second game that Jadeja had missed for the Super Kings since was brought into the franchise in 2012. The other game was in 2019, and it was against the Mumbai Indians. Jadeja was ill during that time, and even MS Dhoni missed that game, which also happens rarely.
Jadeja, who is among the fittest players in cricket, is undergoing one of the most challenging phases of his career. He was made captain just two days before the 2022 season started and he had big shoes to fill. But Dhoni was still around then, which made Jadeja confident about his role.
But Jadeja stepped down eight matches into the Super Kings’ season. He said that he wanted to focus more on his game. Under Jadeja, the Super Kings had won two of those eight matches, before Dhoni took over.
Prior to the Super Kings gig, the 33-year-old Jadeja has never led a senior team full-time. The only experience he had as captain in elite level cricket was in 2007, during a tournament for India Under-19s. But the Super Kings’ team management, as well as Dhoni and owner N Srinivasan, felt that Jadeja’s rich pedigree as a match-winner and his immense experience qualifies him as the best man to succeed Dhoni.
Jadeja had submitted the ICC’s Test-all rounder rankings a couple of weeks before the IPL began. He had taken over the finisher’s mantle from Dhoni over the previous two IPLs, scoring 459 runs at an average of 57.37 with a strike rate of 157.73.
The added demands of being captain made that form fall away. So far, Jadeja has 116 runs in ten innings, including two ducks, at an average of 19.33 and a strike rate of 118.36. He has five wickets with the ball from 33 overs at an average of nearly 50. And despite being one of the best fielders in cricket, Jadeja has also dropped four catches.
Dhoni, after his first match back as captain (against Sunrisers Hyderabad on May 1), said that his plan was to help Jadeja with his captaincy in the first two games this season, which was going to be part of a “gradual transition” plan.
Speaking with Star Sports, Dhoni said, “At the end of the fifth-sixth-seventh [game] or the full season you don’t want him to feel as if the captaincy was done by somebody else. So it was a gradual transition where I said, ‘Okay, this is what I will do. I will take care of the fielding angles and everything for the first game, second game. After that, you will have to decide on your own because that’s the only way you will learn what captaincy is.’ Spoon-feeding doesn’t really help the captain. On the field, you have to take those crucial decisions and you have to take responsibility for those decisions.”
Dhoni also said that he tried to help Jadeja out as the Super Kings wanted the allounder at his best across all three skill sets, along with fulfilling the duties as captain.
“What is important is once you become the captain, you have to take care of many things. And that also includes taking care of your own game. And with him, his mind was working a lot.”
“It’s not easy to control your mind, it’s the strongest feature… body, physiques, all of those things are fine, but once your mind starts working and it wants to contribute more: okay, what’s the combination I can play with; okay, who can bowl at what point of time. It doesn’t really stop. So, what really happens is the individual is not able to relax – even when he closes his eyes and wants to sleep, the mind is still working.”
“So what I felt was, it was having an effect on his game also. When he was going in to bat, or when it comes to his preparation, is putting this [extra] burden affecting his game? Because I would love to have Jadeja as a bowler, batter and fielder. Captaincy, fair enough. Even if you relieve [him of] captaincy, and if he is at his best [as a player], that’s what we really want because we were also losing a great fielder. We were struggling [to find] a deep-midwicket fielder.”