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IPL 2017: RPS owner Sanjiv Goenka feels Ben Stokes will be a big miss, hopes for the best

Goenka also remains positive of keeping his association with IPL intact in the coming years.

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes has lived to his lofty price tag

What’s the story?

The owner of the Rising Pune Supergiant, Sanjiv Goenka is delighted with the team’s performance this year in the IPL following a disappointing start as a new franchise in their maiden season the year before.

It was known that England and South Africa players will return home early this IPL for national duties. And thus, it wasn’t a surprise to him that their English star, Ben Stokes is joining the national team in Spain for a pre-championship camp for the Champions Trophy. Stokes will thus be missing the playoffs and Goenka fully acknowledges that it isn’t going to be easy without him.

“It will be difficult without Ben but, the end of the day, we do have backups... Ben couldn't play two of our league matches - we lost one and won the other... One could say that MI will miss Jos Buttler... It was known that the top England and South Africa players would have to leave early, so didn't come as a surprise... We remain confident,” he said during an interview with the Telegraph.

When asked if he has heard from the BCCI or the IPL on whether the next episode of the IPL would see an expanded field of 10 teams, he replied, ”Haven't heard anything... It's for the Board to talk. Obviously, I'd like my association with cricket and the IPL to continue.”

In case you didn’t know...

On the advice of two numerologists, Sanjiv Goenka deleted the ‘s’ to make it Supergiant this year. Hitherto, it certainly has worked for the franchise, finishing second following the league stage. The RPS will battle for a berth in the final with the two-time champions, Mumbai Indians on 16th May in Mumbai. 

The heart of the matter

The RPS rose up the table to the second spot after crushing the Kings XI Punjab by a massive 9 wickets in the do-or-die game the last time they took the field. The big decision of handing over the captaincy to Steven Smith has been the talk from the very beginning of the tournament. But, Goenka feels that the change in captaincy is a matter of the past and is not pertinent at this stage.

Even MS Dhoni has accustomed himself to the change and has provided valuable inputs in and off the field. Steven Smith has repaid Goenka’s decision handsomely and has been exceptional with his strategies and field placements. It is understandable that the team suffered a few losses and the skipper took some time to understand his players. But once that hurdle was passed there was no stopping them. They, in fact, have been on a roll having won eight out of their last 10 encounters.

Also read: IPL 2017: Ben Stokes praises MS Dhoni and his leadership qualities despite not being captain

What’s next?

The happiness and satisfaction of making it to the playoffs are going to take the back seat now as it’s all about looking forward for RPS now. The team will dwell a bit about the team composition and the strategy to be adopted against MI in the much awaited Maharashtra derby, in Qualifier 1.

Author’s take

Sanjiv Goenka is a proud owner of the RPS and is more involved with the team this year. He hopes that his alliance with cricket and IPL continues in the future years. Goenka is very confident that Steven Smith has the potential to take them over the line and the team is completely capable of doing so.

The stats of IPL in the past decade say that the team finishing second in the table has won the title most number of times. The Qualifier against MI promises to be a thriller. Whether RPS will continue their dominance over MI as they have this season, winning both the times the two teams met in the league stages or will the table toppers put an end to this streak? The answer is much awaited.

Also read: IPL 2017: Stephen Fleming unhappy with reports about his role in MS Dhoni's sacking

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