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IPL 2017: Rising Pune Supergiants, still miles to go

Rising Pune Supergiant is mostly built around stalwarts that led the Chennai franchise to back-to-back IPL titles in 2010 and 2011

ipl 2017 Updated: Mar 30, 2017 18:56 IST
RPS

Steve Smith will lead Rising Pune Supergiant this year. The Australian captain replaced Mahendra Singh Dhoni. (BCCI)

The Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) were introduced in the 2016 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) along with Gujarat Lions. The two new franchises were formed as replacements for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals who were suspended for two seasons by the Supreme Court for bringing disrepute to the tournament.

The Pune team is mostly built around stalwarts that led the Chennai franchise to back-to-back IPL titles in 2010 and 2011. With this being their last season in the league they have invested heavily in recruiting a top quality side in a bid to make up for a disappointing debut.

After watching their batting order crumble in several games last season, RPS splurged heavily to bring in all-rounder Ben Stokes for a record sum of 14.5 crore. The amount makes the England star the highest paid foreign player in IPL history and could give the Supergiant a good balance in batting and bowling.

They will, however, miss the services of Australian all-rounder Mitchell Marsh who is ruled out for the season with a shoulder injury that he suffered during their Test tour of India.

Key players

Steve Smith: The Australian was announced as the RPS captain for the new IPL season a day before the auction. The timing of the announcement took everyone by surprise but the 27-year-old Smith’s remarkable showing against India has made it evident that he is the best choice to lead the side.

MS Dhoni: The team management’s decision to have someone younger lead the side meant the captaincy was stripped off Dhoni. However, the former India skipper’s leadership skills will come in handy and the wicketkeeper-batsman’s role as a finisher will be crucial.

Ravichandran Ashwin: The offie is likely to be the team’s key weapon in the upcoming season. He made his mark in the T20 league and will be determined to make up for an inconsistent last season. His all-round abilities will also be handy for the team.

How they have finished

They failed to qualify for the knockout stages having finished seventh in the table.

Squad

Steve Smith (C), Mayank Agarwal, Ankit Sharma, Baba Aparajith, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ankush Bains, Rajat Bhatia, Deepak Chahar, Rahul Chahar, Dan Christian, MS Dhoni, Ashok Dinda, Faf du Plessis, Lockie Ferguson, Jaskaran Singh, Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Marsh, Ajinkya Rahane, Saurabh Kumar, Ben Stokes, Milind Tandon, Manoj Tiwary, Adam Zampa, Jaydev Unadkat, Ishwar Pandey, Rahul Tripathi.