There would be a change of guard in IPL franchise Rising Pune Supergiants' leadership after MS Dhoni was removed as the skipper of the team, media sources confirmed on Sunday (February 19).
Australian skipper Steven Smith shall be taking over as the new captain of the Pune based team. Smith shall led the franchise in the 10th season of the IPL, starting April 5.
As per latest reports coming out on the managment's decision to change the captain for the upcoming season, the franchise clarified that MS Dhoni himself asked team management to step him down as captain and wanted to be part of the team as player only.
Countering reports in sections of the media that Dhoni had been demoted, the insider said, “Dhoni is a legend of Indian and world cricket, who are we to ask him to step down, He chose to step down because he wants to enjoy his cricket and play with freedom.”
Dhoni had resigned as India's limited-overs captain a month and a half ago,post which Virat Kohli was handed the reins as full-time skipper. His decision to relinquish the Pune captaincy came as a surprise, though, given that this could be the franchise’s last season in the IPL.
The decision to appoint Steve Smith comes as a bit of surprise considering the fact that Rising Pune Supergiants also boast of Francois du Plessis, who is the captain of the South African Test side and has been a regular in the IPL and also Ajinkya Rahane, who has captained India in the past.