Former India international MS Dhoni shined with the willow in the opening game of IPL 2022 on Saturday, March 26. Representing Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Dhoni played a gritty knock of 50 (38) against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. But his effort went in vain as the Shreyas Iyer-led side comfortably reached the finish line with six wickets in hand and nine balls to spare.

Dhoni, who captained CSK from the inaugural season of IPL in 2007 till the title triumph in Dubai last year, stepped down from his post ahead of the start of IPL 2022. He handed over the baton to Ravindra Jadeja during a team meeting on March 25.

In the meantime, South African legend AB de Villiers has shared his take on Dhoni’s decision. De Villiers said he is not surprised by Dhoni’s move to step down from CSK captaincy after winning the last IPL and that the horror show in IPL 2020 would have hurt him.

“I am not surprised by MS’ move. I am actually quite happy for him. Having carried that burden for so long, people might think that it is easy to be captain, but it really wears you down. You have sleepless nights sometimes, especially when you don’t have good seasons,” AB told VUSports.

“But I think he stepped away at exactly the right time, having won the last IPL. The season before the last would have hurt him a lot. To come back and win the trophy and then say ‘I’ll still play but someone else takes over and I’ll be there to support’, it’s the perfect move,” he added.

Dhoni could score only 114 runs in 16 matches at an average of 16.28 last year, but the star batter played a match-winning cameo against Delhi Capitals (DC) in Qualifier 1.

“I am excited to watch MS just enjoy himself, to hit those big sixes again. Not to think too much about strategies and having to monitor guys. He can just go out there and hit sixes and entertain the entire world with what he does best, and that is to play cricket and win games,” De Villiers added further.

Taking over the reins from Dhoni, Jadeja has big shoes to fill. The Jamnagar-born all-rounder has been a part of the Yellow Army since 2012.

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