Kolkata: What the National Selectors couldn’t do some years ago, the management of Indian Premier League (IPL) team Rising Pune Supergiants has. According to reports, MS Dhoni has been removed as the skipper of the side making way for Australian captain Steve Smith to take charge. Though a section of the media reported that Dhoni had stepped down on his own accord, team owner Sanjiv Goenka of the RP- Sanjiv Goenka Group clarified to PTI, “Dhoni has not stepped down. We have appointed Steve Smith as the skipper for the upcoming season. Frankly speaking, we did not have a good last season and we wanted someone young to lead the side and revamp it ahead of the upcoming season 10.”
But Goenka assured that Dhoni would remain an important part of the team. “I have the highest regard for MS Dhoni as a leader and a person. Dhoni continues to be an integral member of our team. He is supportive of the decision keeping the franchise’s best interests in mind,” Goenka said. The IPL auction is slated to be held in Bengaluru tomorrow.
Though the news takes many cricket lovers by surprise but a dismal performance last year perhaps went against the former Indian captain who recently relinquished the top job in the limited overs cricket at the highest level. Pune Supergiants finished 7th in the ninth edition of the IPL despite having stalwarts like Dhoni, Smith, R Ashwin and Ajinkya Rahane in its ranks. Dhoni never looked the leader he was. Even as a performer, he was a disappointment ending up with only 284 runs in 14 matches, his worst in the IPL, according to NDTV. He was not at his best on most occasions and even as captain he failed to exude the magic that had its impact on the team’s performance.
For the Rising Pune Supergiants, the 2017 IPL will be its last, since the team along with Gujarat Lions, is supposed to play in only two editions of the cash rich tournament after the removal of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals. It is natural that the owners would want make an impression on the way out.