One of the two sides who filled the voids after the ban on Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals was RPSG(Rising Pune Supergiants).Having bought one of the most successful skippers of all time, the RPSG boat was supposed to sail under the safe hands of captain MS Dhoni. Along with the former Indian skipper, the team was ornamented with players like Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith, Ravi Ashwin, Faf Du Plessis and Kevin Pietersen. The RPSG side never looked weaker than the others but the results yielded a different story as the MS led Pune stumbled as they finished in the second last position.
The powerhouses failed to deliver and the team with traces of the roots of Chennai Super Kings origin failed to recreate the CSK magic and that is why there have been major changes with the team composition. In a format like T20, a team requires someone who can bat down the order(maybe at number 6 or number 7) to provide a cameo that can be a match winner and also who can deliver a healthy amount of overs when the team demands. This is where the RPSG side has struck astutely to pick the English all-rounder Ben Stokes for a massive 14.5 crores. But there is a major element of surprise from the RPSG team as they replaced MS Dhoni with Steve Smith as a skipper.
The news from the RPSG management has been a big shock to the fans and the cricket experts. This will be an interesting contest to watch out for as to how the Aussie star reacts after stepping in the boots of captaincy for the Supergiants. Challenges lie ahead for the new skipper as he leads a team of Indian players having little international experience. The only Indian players to have played quality international cricket include Ms Dhoni, Ajinkya Rahane and Ravi Ashwin (who is believed to be out due to injury). Utilization of resources is a key factor and this is where MS would have been a far better captain than Steve Smith. MS has been through these stages ever since the first season of the IPL and has groomed various young players to make them capable of tackling the situations. Moreover, MS has played with many of the Indian players like Ashok Dinda ,Ishwar Pandey and Rajat Bhatia and is familiar with their mindsets and the abilities.
Steve Smith on the other hand is a young player to experiment with. His experience as a skipper is nowhere near to the former Indian skipper. One wrong decision can cost them a match or even the title. Having just completed a tiring test series against India recently, it will be a big responsibility for him to lead a side that is completely different. He has already made the news for his brilliant run against India but more importantly for his “Brain-Fade”. Obviously there are no questions on his run scoring ability but his role as a skipper is questionable.
In my opinion, MS would have fitted the role as a skipper well and deserved a chance to lead the Pune side. If Smith proves himself in this role, it will be a “blessing in disguise ” for the RPSG management.If he continues to score runs but fails to lead effectively, I reckon he will be serving to RPSG what JP Duminy served to the Delhi Daredevils. The cricket pundits expressed “Full marks as a batsman but a F grade as a skipper” to the African star JP Duminy. Smith’s report card will be marked with excellent grades as a batsman but can he gain those remarkable scores as a skipper?