The Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) have taken a huge and also surprising step by removing former Indian skipper MS Dhoni from their captaincy for IPL 2017. Australian captain Steve Smith will be in charge of RPS in the tenth edition of the IPL which starts on April 5.
The Supergiants, along with Gujarat Lions, were one of the new teams in IPL 2016. They did not impress in their maiden season, failing to qualify for the playoffs, finishing seventh out of eight teams. They only managed to win five of their 14 group matches despite having some quality players in their ranks. However, one also has to note that two of their star players — Kevin Pietersen and Faf du Plessis — left the competition midway due to injuries.
The RPS' overall performance could be one of the main reasons why the team management decided to relive Dhoni. With the RPS having made their decision official, they will hope for some improved performance from his players under the leadership of Smith, who only played eight matches last season.
"We have opted for Steve Smith as captain of RPS for the forthcoming IPL season. Despite having a good side, the team did not get expected results last year. We could have done much better," India Today quoted RPS' owner Sanjeev Goenka as saying.
Though Dhoni might have been axed as the captain of the RPS, he will still have a huge role to play for the team in IPL 2017 as a wicketkeeper-batsman. With immense IPL and international cricket experience of playing in the Indian conditions, Smith will hope that the former captain can provide some strong inputs in IPL 2017.
Dhoni, who scored 284 runs in the last season, might bat up the order, play fearless cricket and help their team excel in the tenth edition of IPL.