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Rising Pune Supergiant captain Steve Smith bids emotional farewell to India

Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) and Australian cricket team skipper Steve Smith expressed gratitude to all who helped make his four-month stay in India during the India-Australia series and the Indian Premier League (IPL) an incredible experience

ipl 2017 Updated: May 21, 2017 17:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
IPL 2017,IPL final,Rising Pune Supergiant
Steve Smith took over the captaincy of Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) from MS Dhoni at the start of the 2017 Indian Premier League, and though many were expecting clashes, the duo were able to successfully combine their leadership prowess to help RPS reach the IPL-10 final, where they take on Mumbai Indians (MI).(PTI)

Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) skipper Steve Smith bid a fond farewell to India and everyone who helped him have an unforgettable stay in the country.

The Australian cricket team captain arrived in India for the four-test Border-Gavaskar Trophy which began in February, and then stayed on to take part in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Read more | IPL 2017: Mumbai Indians vs Rising Pune Supergiant IPL final live updates, score

Steve Smith will play the last match of his long trip to India when he leads Rising Pune Supergiant against Mumbai Indians (MI) in the final of the 2017 IPL.

Sensing he would have only a few more nights in the subcontinent, Smith took to Instagram to bid adieu to his friends and fans.

“The last 4 months here in India have been incredible. There has been some ups and downs along the way but I’ve learnt such a great deal. The Test matches were tough but so enjoyable to be apart of. I’ve met some wonderful people, and I’ve made some new friends. The IPL and playing with Pune has been a terrific experience and I look forward to spending my last night here in India battling it out in the Final. Thank you to everyone here in India that has made this trip so unforgettable. #grateful #opportunity (sic),” Smith wrote on Instagram along with a collage of four photos.

The four photos in Smith’s Instagram post perfectly reflect his four-month sojourn in India.

Clockwise, the first photo shows Smith with MS Dhoni, the former captain of Rising Pune Supergiant, who was replaced by the Australian at the start of IPL 2017. Smith and Dhoni collectively shared the plaudits for their leadership skills that helped the Supergiant reach the final.

The second photo shows Smith brushing his nose with the Dalai Lama who he met ahead of Australia’s fourth and final Test match against Indian in Dharamsala. Smith had joked with the Dalai Lama that he did not get much sleep for which the Buddhist leader gave him his blessing.

Smith’s joke about not being able to sleep was in reference to the tense situation between the Australian and Indian national teams at the time. In the second Test in Bangalore, Smith had been accused by Indian captain Virat Kohli of trying to misuse the decision review system with help from his teammates in the Australian dressing room before asking for a DRS call.

The third photo showed Smith collapsed on the floor with Indian Test wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha. The image was from the third Test in Ranchi when Saha tried to dislodge a ball stuck between Smith’s pads and appealed for a dismissal. The struggle between Smith and Saha saw the two collapse on the floor and brought on laughs and giggles from Indian and Australian players, as well as match officials. It was a light moment that allowed for a laugh to be shared by all the parties in the middle of the tense Test series.

The last image was that of Smith celebrating a century. The Australian skipper was the top run-getter from the series, managing to strike three centuries in the four Tests; one each at Pune, Ranchi and Dharamsala. The performances saw Smith reaffirm himself as one of the top Test batsmen of the year and made a statement, demanding respect despite whatever bad blood existed between the sides.

Although Smith’s side lost the Test series 1-2, and there was uncertainty over whether the Australians would seamlessly fit into their respective IPL teams, the RPS skipper was warmly welcomed into the franchise league.

Smith took part in festivities and blended into the Rising Pune Supergiant mould, even playing winning knocks on several occasions. He has been one of the outstanding contributors of their campaign as the team’s top run-getter with 421 runs.

While many expected clashes with Dhoni over the leadership role, the two have worked in unison to guide Supergiant’s younger players.

Smith will play his last match in his long India visit when Rising Pune Supergiant face Mumbai Indians in the IPL 2017 final on Sunday.

First Published: May 21, 2017 17:24 IST