For Steve Smith, the captaincy was not new when he was handed the responsibility of leading Rising Pune Supergiant in the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League as he was leading Australia from the last couple of years or so. However, leading the IPL outfit was going to be a challenging one for the 27-year old. He was under immense pressure to deliver straightaway as he replaced Mahendra Singh Dhoni, one of the most successful skippers in the tournament and secondly the performance from the team in the last edition, when they finished seventh in the eight-team tournament, showed that they still had not struck the right balance as the team. Injury to spin spearhead Ravichandran Ashwin only added to Smith worries.
But as the season wore on, Smith left behind all the premonition of another poor season and led the side remarkably well. The team is currently placed third in the league table with 8 wins in 12 matches and are well-placed to make it to the playoffs. And one man who has made Smith’s work easier is none other than Dhoni.
Speaking ahead of the game against Delhi Daredevils, Supergiant’s middle-order batsman Manoj Tiwary revealed how Dhoni has contributed to the team’s success this season.
“Mahi bhai has been helping Smith really well. He being the wicketkeeper has the best possible position to guide the players. Not only he helps Smith but other players too with their positions. He manoeuvres the fielders well,” Tiwary said.
“Smith is also under a lot of pressure on the field (so Dhoni being there takes a bit of load off Smith’s shoulders). That way he has been very co-operative. Smith doesn’t talk too much off the field but he is aggressive on the field. If he has to convey a message, it is pretty loud and clear,” he added.
The Steve Smith-led side will be keen to win their upcoming game against Delhi Daredevils as they will look to finish in the top-two and Tiwary knows the importance of the game. The last time these two teams met, Sanju Samson’s century had guided the Daredevils to a massive 97-run win and the way the Zaheer Khan-led side have made light work of big totals, Tiwary is expecting the team, which is already out of the race for a playoff berth, to come hard at them.
“This match is very important for us. Delhi Daredevils will be coming pretty hard at us. We are not going to make special plans. We will face a tough challenge,” Tiwary said.
“They have chased 200 here and some of the youngsters are playing really well. Rishabh Pant has no fear and neither does Sanju. When players play with a positive intent, we are aware of the damage they can do,” he added.