Saying MS Dhoni was replaced by Steve Smith as the captain of the the Rising Pune Supergiants side as the team needed a younger captain, franchise owner Sanjiv Goenka told NDTV on Monday that he continued to be a huge admirer of Dhoni. "We believed it was time for a younger person to run this side. I was very impressed with the way Steve Smith ran the Australian Smith," Goenka said. Goneka added that he is a huge fan of Dhoni, terming the latter as a 'great leader'.
On pace bowlers Ishant Sharma and Irfan Pathan going unsold, he said, "We needed people who are performance-oriented."
"I have the highest regard for MS 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 franchise's best interests in mind," Rising Pune Supergiants owner Sanjiv Goenka said in a media release.
The wicketkeeper-batsman has been the skipper of an IPL team in all past nine seasons. He first led Chennai Super Kings from 2008 to 2015, and then took charge of Pune Supergiants in 2016 after the Chennai franchise was suspended.
"Dhoni has not stepped down. We have appointed Steve Smith as the skipper for the upcoming season. Frankly speaking, we did not have a good last season and we wanted someone young to lead the side and revamp it ahead of the upcoming season 10," Goenka was quoted as saying by PTI.
Supergiants had a torrid IPL 9, finishing seventh in their debut season. The team managed to win just five of their 14 matches last year with Dhoni himself failing to make a big impact with the bat.
(With inputs from PTI)