After Ravindra Jadeja’s departure from the leadership position midway through the season, Chennai Super Kings star MS Dhoni returned to the helm. Despite his lack of captaincy experience, the great all-rounder was given the reins, and Chennai lost their first four games, winning only two of their remaining eight games. After that, Jadeja stepped down to make way for Dhoni, who continues to be Chennai’s backbone as just a leader and wicketkeeper-batsman. Since the tournament’s debut in 2008, Dhoni has guided the franchise to four titles and five runners-up positions, attracting massive crowds.

“When I had initially heard that Jadeja was going to take over, I was blown away! Because everyone knows the kind of respect and aura that MS Dhoni has on the field, it was always going to be difficult for Jadeja no matter what. In the end I do feel a little bit sorry for Jadeja, because he is a great cricketer and is only getting better,” he said on ‘The Grade Cricketer’ podcast.

Shane Watson, a former CSK all-rounder, has spoken out against the captaincy change midway through the season. The 40-year-old Australian sympathized with Jadeja, emphasizing that stepping into Dhoni’s footsteps was always going to be difficult.

Watson explained the pressures of leadership by recalling his own departure from the Rajasthan Royals in 2015.

“But to see that they publicly sort of put him in that position, he really didn’t have to get to that stage,” he said. “I stepped down as a captain for Rajasthan so I know how difficult it is when you are under pressure, so kudos to Jadeja for making that call,” he added.

Chennai became one of the most successful IPL teams under Dhoni’s leadership, and he is now an important part of the yellow team. Watson believes that the 40-year-old Indian has earned the right to decide his own fate.

“Even though Jadeja was told that he would potentially take over, things do change. If MS wants to play on, he can absolutely do whatever he wants. He has led CSK to another championship. Also deep down he had a point to prove in his batting and he showed that this season. The whole franchise is built around MS, whether it’s just the leadership structure, team dynamics. He is the man to lead the franchise,” Watson further said.