What’s the story?
Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) opening batsman Mayank Agarwal weighed in on the debate surrounding who the better captain is for the IPL franchise, claiming that Steven Smith, who replaced MS Dhoni as the skipper of the side ahead of the tenth edition of the IPL, was very understanding and approachable as a skipper while Dhoni is someone who will always remain an inspirational figure in the dressing room.
“He (Smith) is very understanding and approachable as a captain,” Agarwal said. “We go up to him if we have a suggestion and he listens to it. He brings intensity on the field. He has got a lot of experience and that helps us.”
On Dhoni, Agarwal said, “He (Dhoni) is always inspirational. He is very nice to have in the dressing room. We get to learn a lot from him as youngsters.”
In case you didn’t know...
Dhoni was roped in as skipper of the Rising Pune Supergiant franchise for its debut campaign in the ninth edition of the IPL. However, a dissapointing debut season saw the Sanjiv Goenka-owned side finish a disappointing seventh, prompting the owners to replace Dhoni with the Steven Smith as skipper.
The move generated a bit of controversy as India’s most successful skipper was relieved of his duties citing the need for appointing a younger player as captain. Smith has however made a superb start to his captaincy stint with RPS, leading from the front with a match-winning 54-ball 84 against Mumbai Indians on Thursday in their IPL 10 opener.
Smith might have his doubters with regard to his captaincy, but he has never let his detractors get the better of him. He is one of the modern-day greats fighting it out with India’s Virat Kohli, England’s Joe Root and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson for the mantle of the best batsman in all formats of the game.
He has been in stellar form with the bat in India having scored runs for fun in the keenly-contested Test series against India which the visitors lost narrowly 2-1 and he carried forward the momentum into the T20 format as well with his stellar knock on Thursday in what was his first match as skipper of the RPS franchise.
Agarwal feels that while Dhoni’s captaincy resonated with a cool and composed approach, Smith brings a sense of intensity onto the field. ,
The youngster is hopeful that RSP can carry forward the winning momentum into their second game as well which is on Saturday against Kings XI Punjab. The match will prove to be an interesting battle with Kings XI also naming a new captain for IPL 10 in the form of Glenn Maxwell.
Maxwell has time and again found himself in the bad books of the Australian team management and Steven Smith in particular with his attitude and lack of dedication as a responsible batsman. It will be interesting to see how the two face off on Saturday with their respective teams.
While Smith has made a winning start to his captaincy stint with RPS, it is still early days in IPL 10 and a fair assessment of his captaincy can be done only when the season comes to a close. Opinions though are a matter of personal choice and Agarwal is certainly entitled to his and by his choice of words, it seems that he has taken a certain liking to Smith's style of captaincy which can only be good news for the RPS owners who wouldn't want any negative comments regarding their choice.