As both captains from the Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) and Mumbai Indians (MI) entered the field for the toss of the Match 2 of the ongoing Indian premier League (IPL) 2017, Rohit Sharma led Mumbai, but it wasn’t MS Dhoni from RPS camp but was Steven Smith instead. This is actually an unusual sight for any Indian and even for an RPS fan. But taken into consideration the number of events that happened for the Pune-based IPL franchise, Smith replaced Dhoni starting from this season which meant Dhoni playing his first ever game in IPL as a wicketkeeper-batsman against MI. Smith, who was in an impressive form in the recently concluded Test series against India, was given the captain’s responsibility wherein he top-scored amassing 499 runs with help of 2 blistering centuries. Full Cricket Scorecard, Rising Pune Supergiant vs Mumbai Indians, IPL 10, Match 2
In IPL 2016, Dhoni led the newly formed RPS squad in their maiden season with a strong squad at his service. But despite having influential players like Faf du Plessis, Ravichandran Ashwin, Smith, Adam Zampa, RPS finished at the second from the bottom of the group stage table managing just 5 victories from 14 games. So coming into the new season, RPS management came out with some drastic steps which included replacing Dhoni with Smith. The reason given by the RPS management was that they needed a young leader and were highly disappointed with their last seasons’ run.
In their bid to set things right for them in their second and overall 10th edition of IPL, they also broke the records and purchased England all-rounder Ben Stokes for a humongous amount of Rs 14.5 crore. RPS have also made a change in their team name from Rising Pune Supergiants to Rising Pune Supergiant removing the ‘s’.
Dhoni had already quit the captaincy from One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) early in the month of January taken everyone by surprise. But the fans were still excited given the prospect of him leading RPS in IPL. But given the drastic decisions taken by the management, fans have been left to see Dhoni playing just as a wicketkeeper-batsman.