Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s removal as Rising Pune Supergiants captain surprised all. Arguably India’s most successful skipper was replaced by a younger Steve Smith for the 2017 Indian Premier league (IPL) ahead of the auction.
Virender Sehwag, Dhoni’s former India teammate, said he was happy that the latter was no longer Pune Supergiants’ captain and gave an interesting reason behind it.
“I am happy that he isn’t captain because maybe now my team, Kings XI Punjab, can beat this Pune team,” said Sehwag, who is another IPL franchise Kings XI Punjab’s head of cricket operations.
“On a serious note, I believe that this is an internal decision of the franchise but he is one of the best ever captains India has ever had,” added Sehwag. He was speaking at a session in ‘SporTale’, a sports-themed literary festival.
Dhoni, who stepped down from captaincy in the limited-overs format before the start of the England series, will now play only as a wicketkeeper-batsman.
Dhoni was earlier the captain of now suspended Chennai Super Kings and came to the new franchise Rising Pune Supergiants in 2016.
However, the recent move by Pune team management has ended Dhoni’s innings as skipper in both international and franchise cricket.
Rising Pune Supergiants owner Sanjiv Goenka earlier said: “Dhoni has not stepped down. We have appointed Steve Smith as the skipper for the upcoming season. Frankly speaking, we did not have a good last season and we wanted someone young to lead the side and revamp it ahead of the upcoming season 10.”
Goenka further added, “I have the highest regard for MS Dhoni as a leader and a person. Dhoni continues to be an integral member of our team. He is supportive of the decision keeping the franchise’s best interests in mind.”
Rising Pune Supergiants were one of the two new teams in the 2016 IPL along with Gujarat Lions following the suspension of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals.
Pune narrowly avoided the wooden spoon to Kings XI Punjab, thanks to Dhoni who smashed two sixes off the last two balls in their last league game.