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MS Dhoni played big role in Rising Pune Supergiant’s turnaround: Steve Smith

Rising Pune Supergiant, led by Steve Smith who replaced MS Dhoni as skipper this season, started with a win before losing three matches in a row in the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL)

ipl 2017 Updated: Apr 30, 2017 15:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
IPL 2017,MS Dhoni,Rising Pune Supergiant
Rising Pune Supergiant skipper Steve Smith says that MS Dhoni’s presence in the Indian Premier League (IPL) team is invaluable, both with the bat as well as a wicketkeeper when he gives inputs about the field based on his understanding and experience about angles the batsmen might play.(IPL T20)

Australia cricket team captain Steve Smith has thanked former India captain MS Dhoni, stating that the latter has played a crucial role for theturnaround of Rising Pune Supergiant’s fortunes in the Indian Premier League (IPL) where they have won four of their last five games to stay fourth on the table with 10 points from nine games.

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Rising Pune Supergiant started the tournament on a high, beating Mumbai Indians in a dramatic style before losing their next three games on the trot. Smith, who replaced MS Dhoni as the side’s captain before this tournament, had come under immense criticism with the fans clearly miffed over the swap in role.

The matter had turned further sour after Harsh Goenka, brother of RPS’ owner Sanjiv Goenka tweeted: “#RPSvMI Smith proved who’s the king of the jungle. Overshadows Dhoni totally. Captains innings. Great move to appoint him as captain” during the side’s opening match against Mumbai Indians on April 6.

Although he had deleted the tweet later, it had drawn immense criticism from fans.

However, on Saturday, Smith cleared that none of those off-field controversies had affected his bond with the World Cup winning captain.

“It’s pretty chilled out with him. He has been fantastic and has had a few valuable contributions with the bat and he is hitting the ball really well,” Smith told after beating Royal Challengers Bangalore by 61 runs.“I think he will come back to great form and have a bigger impact by the end of this IPL. I’m really excited about the next couple of games.”

MS Dhoni has aggregated 173 runs in the IPL so far in nine innings. Although he started the season in a patchy manner, he struck form with a match-winning knock of 61 against Sunrisers Hyderabad, including a last ball boundary to pick up the winning runs.

“MS Dhoni has been fantastic as he knows the game incredibly well out here. As a wicket-keeper, it is nice to have someone out there who can look at the angles and get them right,” Smith added. “He has done that well for us and I’m sure he will continue to make a big impact and help me and the rest of the boys and hopefully have more success in the rest of this tournament.”

He further showered praises on the veteran stating it amazed him to find the speed with which he stumps batsmen, often leaving no spaces for error on their part in case they cross the line. “Look, he’s incredibly quick behind the stumps and his hands don’t go back at all, they just stay there and collect the ball. He has done that for a very long time now and has done it once or twice for us in this tournament so far and is doing a great job for the team,” Smith further added.

First Published: Apr 30, 2017 15:27 IST