IPL 2017: Steve Smith appointed captain of Rising Pune Supergiants
MS Dhoni will no longer captain in the IPL, after recently stepping down as India's limited-overs skipper.
What’s the story?
Australian captain Steve Smith will have an extra responsibility in IPL 2017 after being appointed captain of Rising Pune Supergiants. After his decision to step down as India’s limited-overs captaincy, MS Dhoni has also stepped down from his role as captain of his Indian Premier League side.
The decision comes as a massive surprise considering that the tenth edition of the tournament is likely to be the Pune franchise’s last in the tournament but is in line with his decision to play with more freedom, which prompted his decision to hand over the Indian limited-overs reigns to Virat Kohli.
Mr. Sanjiv Goenka, Owner Rising Pune Supergiant said, "I have the highest regard for MS Dhoni as a leader and a person. Dhoni will continue to be an important part of our team. He is supportive of the decision keeping the franchisee's best interests in mind.”
Rising Pune Supergiants finished their maiden IPL campaign second from bottom and struggled to get going as a team throughout the tournament as they were battling through injuries. Dhoni's decision to step down while surprising also affords the captain complete control just ahead of IPL Auction 2017.
Following his decision to step down as India’s limited-overs captain MS Dhoni remarked that he will continue to captain in the IPL and when he plays for Jharkhand. So this decision to step down and focus on his batting is certainly surprising.
The decision as to who should take over looked to be a battle between three players in Steve Smith, Francois du Plessis, who is the captain of the South African Test side and has been a regular in the IPL and also Ajinkya Rahane, who has captained India in the past but it was the Australian, who topped the ICC charts at the end of 2016 who got the gig.
While the timing of the decision to announce that MS Dhoni is stepping down from captaincy is curious, it also makes a lot of sense as the IPL Auction ahead of the tenth edition of the tournament is set to take place in Bengaluru on Monday.
MS Dhoni has looked a shadow of his former self in IPL 2016 barring the game against Kings XI Punjab, where he won the game off the last over and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he wants to concentrate on his batting. Having been captain for the vast majority of his career in both international and domestic matches, it is a good move for him to focus more on his batting as he enters the twilight of his career.