"MS Dhoni was thinking about it."
MS Dhoni has stepped down as captain of IPL side Chennai Super Kings ahead of the 2022 season, which starts on March 26.
Dhoni has been the captain since the first IPL season in 2008.
During that time, he led Chennai to four IPL titles, including a triumph last season.
In a statement, the franchise said the wicketkeeper-batsman will “continue to represent Chennai Super Kings this season and beyond”.
Ravindra Jadeja will now take over as captain, becoming the third person to captain Chennai Super Kings after Dhoni and Suresh Raina.
Chennai Super Kings CEO Kasi Viswanathan said that Dhoni wanted the leadership “transition to be smooth” and felt Jadeja was ready to take up the mantle for the team.
He said: “MS Dhoni was thinking about it.
“He felt it is the right time to hand over captaincy to Jaddu [Jadeja]. He feels Jaddu is also in the prime form of his career and it is the ideal time for him to lead CSK.
“What will be good for the franchise must be [in the] back of his mind.”
Mr Viswanathan said that while Dhoni had not personally informed him of his decision in advance, it was not a surprise to the franchise, and they had discussed the subject – the succession plan – even before the 2021 IPL season and had alerted Jadeja at the time.
He continued: “He [Jadeja] has been talked to earlier. Even last year, there was a proposal. We knew he would be the best person to succeed MS.”
Mr Viswanathan added that the franchise had confidence in Jadeja’s leadership.
“Jaddu has the potential to do well for the franchise.
“[He is a] good all-round cricketer, playing his best, he can get the team around. And MS’ guidance will always be there. This will be a good induction programme.”
News of Dhoni stepping down from captaincy led to a wave of tributes from fans.
One said: “CSK is the golden part of Dhoni’s captaincy legacy.
“CSK achieved everything under him. Don’t like this decision one bit as this is probably his last season in the IPL as well. Truly the end of an era. Dhoni is, Dhoni was and Dhoni will be CSK.”
Another wrote: “End of an Era from CSK!
“Dhoni will remain one of the most successful captains in the history of IPL!”
“Jadeja to start the new era!”
A third commented: “Dhoni leaving captaincy after winning the IPL trophy is typical vintage Dhoni. Going only after the job is done.”
The news also resulted in ‘END OF AN ERA’ trending on Twitter.
MS Dhoni’s decision to step down as captain follows Virat Kohli doing the same at Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Defending champions Chennai Super Kings will play the tournament opener against Kolkata Knight Riders on March 26 at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.