What’s the story?
Rising Pune Supergiant head coach Stephen Fleming has come forward and issued a statement in order to dispel all rumours surrounding the relationship between MS Dhoni and Steve Smith.
The former Kiwi skipper has termed their relationship as ‘outstanding’ and has also maintained that owing to the healthy atmosphere in the dressing room, his side has made it to the finals this season.
“Between the two of them, it has been outstanding. Much (has been) made of the relationship. Certainly sitting with them, it has been influential for the youngsters, beneficial for the senior players, and it has been helpful for me,” Fleming told reporters.
Fleming has praised both Smith and Dhoni and said that the dynamic vibe in the group was a big reason for the success of Rising Pune Supergiant this season.
He also added that Dhoni has been extremely inspired all through the season and this has had a big impact on the other players. Although the former Indian captain has not had the best of seasons, but he has played few crucial cameos for his team when it has mattered the most and Fleming recognises this fact as he says that he has been very consistent over the years and is extremely motivated to win the title one more time.
In case you didn’t know...
The move to appoint Steven Smith captain of Pune before the season began faced a lot of criticism for all quarters and ever since there have been plenty of rumours pertaining to the relationship between Dhoni and Smith.
RPS did not have a very bright start and these rumours gained steam but as the season chugged along their form improved and slowly all these rumours faded away.
Smith himself has confessed that he takes guidance from Dhoni during matches and there is a healthy camaraderie between the duo, a trait which has benefitted the team.
Pune will take on Mumbai Indians in the finals today and would hope to continue their dominance over their Maharashtra neighbours. They hold a 3-0 edge over Mumbai this season and would love to complete the full cycle and get their hands on the trophy.
Also, it has to be mentioned here that this would be the final match for Pune in their IPL journey as their contract expires this year.
The statement from the coach could not have come at a more opportune time for Pune as it would galvanise the group even more ahead of the finals.
Also, it shows the professionalism from both individuals who keep their self-egos on the sidewalk and give their best to the team's cause.