MS Dhoni was removed as captain of Indian Premier League franchise Rising Pune Supergiants on Sunday, a day before the IPL 2017 player auctions. Australia skipper Steve Smith was named his replacement for the 10th season of cash-rich league. Dhoni had earlier stepped down from the captaincy of the Indian ODI and T20I teams, with Test captain Virat Kohli taking over. While former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin slammed the Rising Pune Supergiants management for removing Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, in his inimitable style, said he was happy with the decision.
"I am happy that he isn't captain because maybe now my team, Kings XI Punjab, can beat this Pune team," said Sehwag, who heads cricket operations for KXIP.
"On a serious note, I believe that this is an internal decision of the franchise but he is one of the best-ever captains India has ever had," Viru further added.
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.
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.
The former India skipper scored 284 runs in 14 matches -- his lowest in an IPL season -- with just one half-century to his name. He had five not outs in the tournament last year that helped bump his average to 40.57.
Overall, Dhoni has played in 143 IPL matches, scoring 3271 runs at an average of 39.40 and a strike rate of 138.95.
Under Dhoni's captaincy, Chennai Super Kings had won the IPL title in 2010 and 2011, and also the Champions League T20 crown in 2010 and 2014. In addition, Dhoni is one of only three captains to win the IPL twice with Gautam Gambhir (Kolkata Knight Riders) and Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians) being the other two.
(With inputs from PTI)