IPL news February 19, 2017

Smith replaces Dhoni as Pune Supergiants captain

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Quick facts - MS Dhoni as IPL captain

Rising Pune Supergiants have replaced MS Dhoni with Steven Smith as captain for the tenth season of the IPL, which starts on April 5.

The switch emerged on the eve of the IPL player auction, in Bangalore on February 20, less than two months after Dhoni resigned as India's ODI and T20I captain ahead of the recent home series against England.

"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," Sanjiv Goenka, owner of the Pune franchise, said in a statement. "He is supportive of the decision keeping the franchisee's best interests in mind."

At the toss for what was billed as his last match as captain of India - when he led India A against the England team in a tour match in January - Dhoni had said he wasn't done with captaincy and that he was still going to captain in the IPL and domestic cricket. After giving up the India captaincy, Dhoni showed good form, scoring his first ODI hundred in four years and his maiden Twenty20 international fifty.

Under Dhoni, Supergiants finished second last in their maiden IPL season in 2016, winning only five games and losing nine in a campaign ravaged by injuries to key players. It was the first time a team led by Dhoni failed to make the IPL playoffs. Dhoni scored 284 runs in 12 innings at a strike-rate of 135; Smith, who captains Australia in all three formats, made 270 in seven innings at a strike-rate of 153.

Later in the day, Harsh Goenka - brother of Sanjiv Goenka, and chairman of the business group that owns Supergiants - tweeted of the decision:

Dhoni was the franchise's first-choice pick in a player draft ahead of the 2016 season. That was Pune's first season in the league, having been brought in as one of two new teams - the other was the Gujarat Lions - in the wake of the suspensions of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals after the IPL corruption scandal in 2013. This is the last year of the two-year contract the Supergiants signed with the IPL.

Until then Dhoni had been captain of the Super Kings since the IPL began in 2008. He was bought at the first player auction for $1.5 million, the highest paid player at the time and led Super Kings to the IPL title in 2010 and 2011, as well as the Champions League title in 2010 and 2014. Under him, Super Kings also finished runners-up in the IPL on four occasions.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cricketismypassion on February 22, 2017, 5:44 GMT

    Pune team most of the matches because 1) they don't have any impact bowler like SUNIL NARAINE or BHUMRAH or BHUWI or BRAVO - who can win the match for you in Death overs. All their bowlers bled runs fast and easy even though batsmen put up very challenging totals. 2) Injuries and return of big names. This is a bad move and MSD is not a fool. Just because he does not make big speeches and talk about strategy - does not mean strategy is not in his head.

  • Sreeram83 on February 21, 2017, 20:43 GMT

    When India toured Aus, the selectors purposely made sure the team had lesser batsman so that Dhoni will be forced to try new alrounders. This itself is a proof that no one is happy with his strategy of giving same players chance again and again. He does not like to give chance to new players, no matter how good they are. This was same case with all the players who succeeded under him, they all struggled to get into the side. When team loses Dhoni will keep blaming the team like there is no good alrounder in Inda, no good quick bowler in India etc.All this are signs of a poor captain. Kolhi instead makes the ordinary bowler appear good with attacking field placing. We all see how the same Umesh was unplayable against Bangladesh. How Ashwin became a champion alrounder under Kolhi. His treatment of many players were very unfair, the line goes on - Irfan Patan, Varon Aaron, Binny etc. Not that they are great talents, but he never cared to give them fair chance.

  • Sreeram83 on February 21, 2017, 20:37 GMT

    @YOOHOO:- Dhoni sure built the current team. He sure kept giving chance to Kolhi and also many others who are currently kicked out of team like Dhawan. Even now if Dhoni was captain and we have Dhawan and Pant in the squad, then we all know Dhoni will blindly select Dhawan and will not give Pant a chance. If Dhoni finds something usable in a player, he keeps giving them chances, totally discarding the alternate talents. He has never taken any effort to utilize Ashwin's batting potential, but Kolhi did. Not once did Dhoni ever went for horses for courses. If a team wins a match, next match he will keep playing same team not matter how different the condition is. Kolhi is far better captain than Dhoni and results are evident. Dhoni was a failure as test captain, the entire world knows it. Again I am not a Dhoni hater, but he sure is not a good captain especially with youngseters around. Even Ashwin struggled to establish under Dhoni.

  • cricfan46643168 on February 21, 2017, 18:00 GMT

    All the Aussie guys have left last IPL midway citing various reasons!!! including this guy. This might be a strategy also. Who knows?? But we love MSD forever wherever he is. No debate needed for GOD of INSTINCTS.

  • ravi424 on February 21, 2017, 14:30 GMT

    Ghosts of the past??? This guy doesnt know what he is talking about. There should be boycott of Pune team, by Dhoni fans. Hope he immediately quits Pune.

  • ramtssr on February 21, 2017, 7:03 GMT

    Good Decision. I respect dhoni as a captain for Indian team and not for the IPL team. In IPL he doesn't provide chance to young players. IPL is mainly for giving opportunities to young and uncapped indian players. Dhoni always sticks to his playing 11 and he rarely changes the team. Rest all other team rotate their players. Hope some reserve player gets chance in dhoni's team

  • cricfan51302264 on February 21, 2017, 6:00 GMT

    RIP RPS. I will boycott all the matches of RPS. It is said nobody is greater than game . Goenka is not greater than MSD. They must release MSD .

  • sunilvaidya on February 21, 2017, 4:13 GMT

    CSK and RR will return the next year but will RPSG and Gujarat Lions be there the next year? will the total no, of teams remain 8 or will increase to 10 next year?

  • PurushothamanSrinivasan on February 21, 2017, 2:21 GMT

    i support the decision by RPS.. the management is probable sensing that he might move on to csk next season, in that case they need to invest in a long term leader and smith is the man for the job. Besides Dhoni had a couple of average IPL seasons..The club needs to do what is in their best interest and every player is a part of their investment and strategy so take nothing personal my friends, after you don't get paid 14 crores for nothing. The good news for Dhoni fans is that Dhoni's faithful and co will stick to him when he joins CSK next season(most likely). Duplesis, Bravo, Jadeja, Ashwin, Natrajan, Hussey, Bollinger, you never know he might pinch in some good players from RPS as well. When Big Sri was the CSK chairman I guess pretty much Dhoni had the liberty to choose his team, and i don't think that's the same case with RPS nor with any other franchise. But Dhoni will rise again..

  • Chandra G on February 21, 2017, 1:55 GMT

    Guys, it is simple. Dhoni will move to CSK next year. RPS want to have a person who can stay and they can pick next year and continue team building. So, from their perspective it is the right decision. They think that MS, Faf, Ash will move out, so there is no point in making anyone captain for 1 year. I only wonder, if Stephen Fleming has some thing to do with it. If Fleming decided that he is going to stay with RPS and build team, then he may have suggested it. Either way it is a good call from the people paying money. Dhoni is caught in the middle, but he is not going to stay with RPS, so, he can not complain. I believe he is still employed by India Cements.

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