IPL 2017: The One Mind Ahead Of MS Dhoni’s Is Steve Smith’s: RPS Owner Sanjiv Goenka
While calling Mahendra Singh Dhoni as one of the greatest minds he has interacted with, Rising Pune Supergiant owner Sanjiv Goenka feels if there is one mind ahead of the former Supergiant skipper, it is his successor Steve Smith.
Dhoni’s unceremonious sacking was one of the biggest talking points before the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League. While there is no denying that the franchise went through a torrid time in its inaugural season when it finished a lowly seventh in the eight-team tournament under Dhoni but his sacking was harsh and totally uncalled for.
The most decorated captain in the history of Indian cricket, the World Cup-winning skipper is also one of the most successful captains in the history of India’s premier T20 league. He led the now-suspended Chennai Super Kings to two back-to-back Indian Premier League titles, two Champions League T20 title, six Indian Premier League final and so it was absolutely shocking to see him getting replaced with Steve Smith as the captain of the team. The decision of the franchise faced severe criticism from the fans and former players.
However, the franchise will now be delighted with their huge as well as the tough decision to appoint Smith as the skipper of the team as the team has made a remarkable turnaround to make it to their maiden final.
“MS is one of the greatest minds I have interacted with. And he is the best wicketkeeper in the world,” Goenka told Hindustan Times on Friday (May 19).
“The one mind ahead of Dhoni’s is Smith’s,” he added, referring to captain Steve Smith. “My brief to Smith was: ‘win the championship’.
The Supergiant, under the Aussie skipper, has looked like a force to reckon with right from the start of the tournament. They have defeated their fellow finalists and table-toppers Mumbai Indians thrice this season including the first qualifier and will be backing themselves to lift the coveted title by winning the fourth Maharashtran derby too.
Speaking about Smith’s captaincy, the Kolkata-based industrialist said:“It’s difficult to believe the way he has planned some dismissals, the tact and firmness with which he has dealt with tricky situations and the win-or-nothing attitude he has been able to infuse in the team, get them to gel as a unit. And he’s gone out in the strategic timeouts to tell batsmen to either score 30 off the next 12 balls or get out. If we had a bad start, it was because Smith was out with food poisoning.”
Goenka further said that the inclusion of more match-winners this season has played its part in the team’s brilliant performance. He also said that he was desperate to bounce back strongly after a dismal inaugural season and was not bothered about players’ loyalties for the same.
“You need to win eight-nine games to make the playoffs and Smith told me that between him, (Imran) Tahir and (Ben) Stokes, we would win seven. And players of the calibre of MS will always give you something. We had more match winners this time, players who would need five-six balls to settle down instead of 20. And we hadn’t factored in Rahul Tripathi, Washington Sundar and Jaydev Unadkat. Tripathi and Sundar are going to be serious players on the Indian cricket scene,” he said.
“The first season was a disaster and I wanted it to end soonest, with our dignity intact. The team got younger, fitter and more energetic. So, we have fielded better. This time, with whom players’ loyalties lay didn’t matter,” he added.
Supergiant, meanwhile, will take on Mumbai Indians in the final on May 21 in Hyderabad where they will be harbouring the hopes of their maiden trophy while the Rohit Sharma-led side will be aiming to become the first team to win three IPL titles.
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