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India-Australia Test series done and dusted, time to focus on IPL: Steve Smith

Australia and Rising Pune Supergiants skipper Steve Smith sought to play down talks of a tense relationship with Indian players, saying it’s time to move on from the bitterly-fought India vs Australia Test series

ipl 2017 Updated: Mar 30, 2017 19:03 IST
Bhargab Sarmah
Bhargab Sarmah
New Delhi
steve smith,RPS,IPL 2017
Australian captain Steve Smith appeals for Decision Review System (DRS) during the fourth Test in Dharamsala. Smith has courted controversy during the series vs India and has apologised for his ‘emotional slip’. He will now lead Rising Pune Supergiants in the IPL and play alongside India's Ajinkya Rahane, who led in the fourth Test in the absence of injured captain Virat Kohli. (PTI)

Playing down talks of lingering bitterness between Indian and Australian cricketers after the recent four-match Test series, which India won 2-1, Aussie skipper Steve Smith said that he has moved on from the events of the series and is now completely focused on the IPL.

Speaking at a press conference here, the newly-appointed Rising Pune Supergiants skipper said the series is done and dusted and that the bitterly-fought series wouldn’t impact his relationship with Indian players in the Pune dressing room.

“The series is done and dusted. India outplayed us and won the series. I am moving on from that now. I am ready to take on the reins of this IPL team,” Smith stated.

Live in the present: Ajinkya Rahane

“I think I made it pretty clear after the game (in Dharamsala). We are leaving it there. As I said, the series is done and dusted. It’s time to move on now,” he added.

Smith’s Rising Pune Supergiants teammate Ajinkya Rahane, who captained India in the absence of Virat Kohli at Dharamsala, too sought to play down the controversies of the India-Australia series, saying players in the Pune team will be united behind Smith in the upcoming season.

“I have always believed that one should live in the present. Whatever happens on the ground remains within the ground.

“Our focus is on the IPL. We have won the series, and there was some very good cricket on display during the series. Both sides played really well, so credit also goes to Steve Smith and the Australian team for the way they played,” Rahane said.

“But now we are playing in the same team. We know each other very well and have played together before. The focus during the IPL will be on how we can work together to take the team forward,” Rahane added.

Rising Pune Supergiant cricket team captain Steve Smith (L), team owner Sanjiv Goenka (2L) and player Ajinkya Rahane (R) pose for a photograph with a team jersey as they welcome England's Ben Stokes (2L) to the team during a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday. ( AFP )

With other prominent Team India regulars in the RPS team, franchise owner Sanjiv Goenka said there wouldn’t be an issue of Smith gelling with his Indian teammates.

With Rahane, Smith and new recruit Ben Stokes sitting next to him, Goenka told reporters that he didn’t see the need of defusing tension.

“The Test series is over, the IPL starts. The team is completely united. We will compete as one team, under one leader,” he stated.

“I was with these three gentlemen (Smith, Rahane and Stokes) before we came here. I have seen very good bonhomie between all of them. So I don’t know where my role to defuse any tension is. I didn’t see any tension,” Goenka commented.

Rising Pune Supergiant will start their IPL 2017 campaign against Mumbai Indians in Pune on April 6.

First Published: Mar 30, 2017 17:46 IST