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Chennai keen to help Ruturaj become captain, says coach Fleming

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Chennai Super Kings’ senior players will help new skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad settle into his role as Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s successor, but there could be a period of trial and error during the Premier League season India (IPL), said head coach Stephen Fleming.

The five-time champions begin their 2024 campaign against Royal Challengers Bengaluru later on Friday without long-time skipper Dhoni at the helm after the 42-year-old relinquished his captaincy amid speculation it could be his last season.

Dhoni had earlier stepped away from the role in 2022 under all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, but returned to lead the team after Chennai lost six of their first eight matches.

“The major problem a few years ago was that we probably weren’t ready for Dhoni to step aside,” Fleming told reporters. “What it did was make us, as a leadership group, look at the possibility of his departure.

“Up until that point it was almost unthinkable, but it planted the seed. So we have worked very hard to make sure that the mistakes made then are not repeated and that leadership is not a secret.”

Fleming said it was Dhoni’s decision to groom Gaikwad, 27, for the role and the former Indian captain would work with his fellow veterans to ensure a smooth transition.

“Finding that balance and being able to use the Jadejas and the Dhonis and help Ruturaj as he develops is very important. In the middle we will do a bit of trial and error to a certain extent” , added Fleming.

“Ruturaj is sure of himself. He is not the most demonstrative captain at the moment, but he has a good approach with his comrades and he is very respected. What I understand from senior players is the desire to help.”

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