“He [Jadeja] is not a natural captain. He hasn’t captained at any level. So, to give him the responsibility I thought was a little hard on Jadeja,” Shastri said on ESPNcricinfo’s T20 Time Out. “People might want to judge Jaddu, but it’s not his fault. He hasn’t captained anywhere. He looked a fish out of water, totally out of place and he’s far better off playing as a player. Because he’s one of the best around in the business, when it comes to allrounders.
“So let him just focus on his cricket. That [decision to give him the captaincy] cost CSK a few games early on. If you see the form they’re in now, if they had this going early on, they’ll be right up there in the mix.”
Two out of Super Kings’ four wins so far this season have come since Dhoni took back the reins, in just three games. They currently placed ninth and need to win all their three remaining games to stand a chance to force a playoff possibility.
Shastri also said that Super Kings should take their time before identifying their next captain, even if it means they wait till next year’s mini auction to sign someone from outside the group, like Royal Challengers Bangalore did in acquiring Faf du Plessis, a former Super Kings player.
“You have got to see where the player has come from, what levels of cricket has he played,” Shastri said. “Has he captained a side? Does he have the flair for captaincy? You have to look into these kinds of things before jumping to conclusions before deciding whether a player should captain in the future or not. Not just because he’s scoring runs, he’s the highest run scorer, you become captain.
“Which happens in India a lot. Not just at the state level but also at the national level too, where a player has just been put in because he’s getting runs. He might never have captained, might have had very little experience, but his name is in the mix.
“I think captaincy is a totally different job. It demands flair, the ability to read the game, man-management qualities, above all, the ability to communication, not just with players but also media these days, so it comes with a lot of add-ons.”
Shastri believed that being one of the best fielders also meant Jadeja as captain wasn’t being able to do justice to his best qualities.
“Another aspect of Jadeja is he is one of the best fielders, if not the best,” he said. “When you’re the best, you have to patrol the deep, where there are sweepers or you need deep midwicket, deep square-leg, long-on, long-off. These are areas the best fielders go to because of their ability to cover distances and catch the ball. If you’re captain of the side and you hedge your bets wanting to be in the circle to marshall resources and control things, your side is the loser.”