Kolkata: In a big jolt to former Indian cricket team skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni as his name has been snatched from the post of captain of Rising Pune Supergiants for the upcoming 10th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The franchise announced on Sunday that Dhoni has been replaced with Australian player Steve Smith as its new captain.
This step comes after Dhoni has stepped down as the Indian captain in the limited-overs format before the start of the England cricket series.
Rising Pune Supergiants owner Sanjiv Goenka said in a statement, “I have the highest regard for M.S. Dhoni as a leader and a person. Dhoni will continue to be an important part of our team. He is supportive of the decision keeping the franchisee’s best interests in mind.”
The 27-year-old Smith is considered as one of the best batsmen among the current generation for the Australian One-Day International (ODI) and Test team sides. The captain has been part several IPL franchises in the past with stints with Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rajasthan Royals and Pune Warriors.
Just a day before the players’ auction is scheduled for the IPL to be held in Bengaluru, the RPS franchise announced this decision to name Smith as the skipper of the Pune team’s comes.
Dhoni has been the most successful in skippering the now suspended IPL side Chennai Super Kings, leading the southern outfit to two crowns in 2010 and 2011. Besides, he also led Chennai to the Champions League T20 trophies in 2010 and 2014.
He was the first to be picked in the only draft of players held in the IPL in December 2015, and two new franchises Pune and Gujarat Lions were given the option of choosing up to five players each from Chennai and Rajasthan Royals which were suspended for two years.