In a shocker, Mahendra Singh dhoni has been sacked from Rising Pune Super Giants’ captaincy just 2 days before the auction. The news was confirmed by the team owner Sanjeev Goenka who said Australian captain Steven Smith will replace Dhoni for the 10th season of the league. Even though Pune won just 5 of their 14 IPL matches last year under him, Dhoni has a very impressive record in the Indian Premier League leading Chennai Super Kings to two title wins.
“Mahi is an outstanding player, an asset for any team. When we went into the last season, we went with a lot of expectations but finished second from the bottom. So, I sat with the management and decided what we need to do differently. We decided to have a fitter team and a younger captain. We had the luxury of having Steven Smith who was okay with it. I talked to Dhoni and he was also fine with it. He ensured that he will cooperate with us,” said Goenka.
WATCH VIDEO | IPL 2017 Player Auction Live Updates
Dhoni was recently replaced as India’s limited-overs captain by Virat Kohli but the 35-year-old finisher ensured that he will continue to captain in the Indian Premier League. However, the franchises have decided to shoulder the responsibility on young Aussie skipper Smith, who has previously led Pune Warriors India and Rajasthan Royal stepping in for the usual captains.
This is the first time, that MS Dhoni has been removed from the leadership duties as on all the previous occasions, he himself decided to step down from the role. The former Indian captain also had a bad season with the bat last year with just 284 runs to his name from 12 innings and scored a solitary half-century.
However, there were many reasons behind Pune’s poor season starting with a badly assembled squad including too many fringe players. To make matters worse, key players like Kevin Pietersen, Mitchell Marsh and Faf du Plessis suffered injuries and were forced to leave the league mid-way. Ajinkya Rahane and Ravichandran Ashwin too struggled to form and Pune finished at the second last spot.
Steven Smith started his career as a leg-spinner but transformed into a top order batsman with a fantastic record. He currently leads Australia in all the three formats and is familiar with the Indian conditions. Aussie captains have enjoyed fair amount of success in the past as Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist and David Warner leading their sides to title wins.