Steve Smith was handed over the Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) team's captaincy ahead of the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League. After Mahendra Singh Dhoni stepped down as skipper of India's limited-overs cricket teams, the RPS management opted for a change of guard at the franchise. The decision surprised not just fans of the wicketkeeper-batsman but also the cricket-loving public at large. 2017 is the first IPL season that Dhoni finds himself not leading a team. However, his experience of a decade of leadership still remains invaluable for the Pune team.
This was observed when team captain Smith rushed to Dhoni for advice ahead of the tense final over against the Mumbai Indians. Dhoni was seen giving his inputs to the Australian, with Ajinkya Rahane too chipping in. Dhoni, who was taken several key decisions in during high-pressure matches at the international level, was his calm self as he engaged with Smith.
"I have plenty of guys to talk to, but I will not seek too many opinions. Seeking too many opinions can cloud your own judgement. I want to try and stay as clear as possible. But yes, if someone sees something and feels the need to point it out to me, they are more than welcome," said Smith ahead of the tenth edition of the cash-rich league.
Pune ended Mumbai Indians' six-match winning streak with a three-run victory on Monday. Defending 24 off the last 12 balls, Ben Stokes bowled an economical penultimate over and conceded just seven runs, leaving Rohit Sharma's team with an onerous task of scoring 17 runs off the final six balls.
Bowling the last over, Jaydev Unadkat dismissed Hardik Pandya with his first delivery, but Sharma smashed the bowler for a six to bring the equation down to 11 from four balls.
The left-arm seamer, though, had the last laugh as he had Sharma caught and bowled for a brilliant 39-ball 58.
Harbhajan Singh struck the last ball for a six, but that was not enough for the home team.
(With inputs from agencies)