What’s the story?
A lot of eyebrows were raised and numerous questions were asked when Mahendra Singh Dhoni resigned as the captain of the Rising Pune Supergiants just one day before the IPL auctions. However, the RPS owner Sanjeev Goenka cleared the air as he revealed the reason for the massive decision which was made.
“We have opted for Steve Smith as captain of RPS for the forthcoming IPL season," Sanjeev Goenka told India Today.
"We want a young captain. Despite having a good side the team did not get expected results last year. Last year we failed. We could have done much better. Mahi was cooperation personified when we conveyed the decision to him," he continued.
In case you didn’t know...
After CSK were banned from the IPL, Dhoni took over the captaincy of the newly included Pune side in the IPL last year. However, things did not go as planned as RPS finished 7th on the table and failed to qualify for the playoffs.
Australia’s Steve Smith was named as the replacement for Dhoni and will be only the second overseas captain in the IPL this year along with his teammate David Warner who is the captain of the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The heart of the matter
After surprising the entire nation by stepping down as captain of the Indian limited overs sides at the beginning of the year, he went on to produce a few vintage performances with the bat against England in the ODI and T20 series. Hence, fans could be hopeful for similar performances by Dhoni in the IPL as well without the pressure of captaincy.
Goenka heaped praise on Dhoni and said that he has the highest regard for him as a leader and a person. He also went on to say that Dhoni will continue to be an important part of the team and the decision was made keeping the franchisee's best interests in mind.
The IPL auction for the 10th edition of the tournament will take place in Bangalore tomorrow with 352 players going under the hammer. The tournament will begin on April 5th with last year’s finalists taking on each other in the first match. Pune's first match will take place on April 6th against the Mumbai Indians at the MCA stadium in Pune.
Goenka’s decision to hand over the captaincy to Smith might have come as a surprise to many, but his decision was justified as this might be the Rising Pune Supergiant’s final year in the IPL. Barring his performance against the Kings XI Punjab last year, Dhoni did not have much to show for with the bat.
So, the decision to remove him from captaincy might have also been made so that he could focus more on his batting. Considering that Dhoni proved his worth with the bat in Indian colours after resigning from captaincy, we might be able to see him at his vintage best in the tournament this year.