Steven Smith, Ajinkya Rahane fully focussed on helping Rising Pune Supergiant win IPL 2017
New Delhi: Putting aside their bitter on-field rivalry in the just-concluded Test series, Australia skipper Steven Smith and India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane on Friday said they have moved on and are fully focussed on helping the Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) do well in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Smith replaced Mahendra Singh Dhoni as captain of the Pune franchise after a lacklustre debut season last year where the team finished second last with only five wins in 14 matches. Smith said the presence of two international skippers in Dhoni (former India captain) and Faf du Plessis (South Africa Test captain) in the side will make his job as captain easier. READ: RPS in IPL 2017 Preview: Smith’s brigade hopes for injury-free ride and better fortunes
“It’s a great squad to have. Of course, having Dhoni and du Plessis along with the likes of Rahane and [Ben] Stokes will make my job easier as a captain. They are experienced players and their inputs will help our team in the tournament,” the 27-year-old said during the team’s jersey launch here with Rahane, England all-rounder Stokes and team owner Sanjiv Goenka, by his side. “The IPL has been very beneficial for all the cricketers. We get to learn a lot by sharing the dressing room with players from various cultures and countries. They all have their own techniques and it’s a great way to know each other,” he added. READ: Rising Pune Supergiants in IPL 2017 schedule: Team and squad details, match timetable and venues
Smith, however, played down India skipper Virat Kohli’s jibes at him and said he was not sure if he was one of the “couple of individuals” from the Australian team who Kohli did not want to be friends with. “That is for Virat to answer. I don’t know if I am one of those couple of players Virat was hinting at in his tweet today,” he said. “For me, the series is done and dusted and India have outplayed us. I am now ready to lead a new bunch of team at the Pune Supergiants. All I want to focus on now is the IPL and leave everything behind. I have been in India for a long while now and have got used to the conditions which I can translate in my performances in the tournament,” the prolific batsman added. READ: Sanjiv Goenka’s interview reveals what went down between Dhoni and RPS management
When asked to differentiate between Kohli and Rahane’s captaincy styles, Smith said: “Rahane was cool and collected on the field while Virat was very aggressive and emotional.” Rahane captained the Indian team during the fourth and final Test at Dharamsala after Kohli injured his right shoulder on the opening day of the third game at Ranchi. The Rising Pune Supergiants will start their IPL 10 campaign against Mumbai Indians at home on April 6.