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

According to Fleming, the media had fabricated a quote he never said

News 16 May 2017, 15:30 IST
Fleming and Dhoni have worked together for almost a decade in the IPL (Photo source: AFP)

What’s the story?

Coach of the Rising Pune Supergiant, Stephen Fleming is unhappy with the reports in the media that suggest MS Dhoni was sacked as RPS’s skipper because Fleming felt he cannot handle pressure.

Earlier, reports in the media quoted Fleming as saying, “We lost seven games by a close margin under MS Dhoni’s captaincy in IPL 2016. Dhoni was not able to focus on finishing the games for the side. This is why the decision to remove him as captain was taken.”

As per Fleming, the quote is fabricated and he said nothing of that sort about the former Indian skipper. 

In case you didn’t know...

Hours before the 2017 IPL auctions, MS Dhoni was removed as the skipper of the Rising Pune Supergiant and replaced by Australian captain Steve Smith. Dhoni had been the skipper of an IPL team in all past nine seasons. He first led the Chennai Super Kings from 2008 to 2015, and then took charge of Pune in 2016 after CSK were suspended for two years. He has also been a very successful IPL captain, having won two IPL and Champions League titles respectively. 

Also read: IPL 2017: 5 reasons why Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) can beat Mumbai Indians (MI)

The details

The reports about Fleming’s role in Dhoni’s sacking have not gone down well with the former Kiwi skipper, who took to Twitter to vent his anger.

RPS have been a much-improved team this year from the previous one. Although it is true that they lost many close encounters last year and didn’t repeat those mistakes this year, it is not certain whether Fleming singled out Dhoni’s removal from captaincy duties as the reason for the turnaround.

What’s next?

It remains to be seen how the owner of RPS Sanjiv Goenka reacts to this since he has always been critical of MS Dhoni. But it seems unlikely that someone of Fleming’s class and stature can make such open comments on one of the finest captains in the world of cricket. As for Dhoni, he will be busy preparing for the all-important Qualifier 1 to be played tonight against the Mumbai Indians. 

Author’s Take

While no comments having emerged from the RPS camp about the said media reports, it’s unclear if Fleming has indeed said what is being claimed by the media. When Steve Smith was named as captain for RPS in the IPL 2017 campaign, Harsh Goenka had – via a couple of Tweets thrown some light on the details behind the management’s choice of captain.

Those Tweets had drawn the ire of Dhoni fans. This revelation, although fabricated as claimed by Fleming, has once again brought the controversy surrounding RPS’s choice of leadership to the forefront. While Dhoni and Smith have visibly worked well together through IPL 2017, speculation behind Dhoni’s sacking as skipper never appear to die as new and varied reports continue to surface.

Also read: IPL 2017 Playoffs, MI vs RPS Match Prediction: Who will win today's 1st playoff between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiant

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