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Mahendra Singh Dhoni removed as Pune captain, Steve Smith to lead

Mahendra Singh Dhoni was on Sunday removed as captain of IPL franchise Rising Pune Supergiants and replaced by Australian Steve Smith, ending his innings as skipper in both international and franchise cricket.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni removed as Pune captain, Steve Smith to lead
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Mahendra Singh Dhoni removed as Pune captain, Steve Smith to lead

Kolkata

Dhoni, who had stepped down as India’s limited-overs captain to snap his international run as skipper earlier this year, will, however, continue to be a part of the Pune franchise as a player. 

“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,” Rising Pune Supergiants owner Sanjiv Goenka told PTI

This is the first time that the 35-year-old, who had stepped down from Team India captaincy on his own terms in all formats, has been removed from the top position. The decision comes a day before the players’ auctions scheduled to be held in Bengaluru. 

“I have the highest regard for MS Dhoni as a leader and a person. Dhoni continues to be an integral member of our team. He is supportive of the decision keeping the franchise’s best interests in mind,” Goenka added. 

The most expensive player of the tournament that began in 2008, Dhoni also has been among the most successful. 

Part of the now suspended Chennai Super Kings franchise from 2008 to 2015, Dhoni led the team to back-toback titles in 2010 and 2011. Besides, he also led Chennai to the Champions League T20 trophies in 2010 and 2014. 

He was the first one picked in the only draft held in the IPL, in December 2015, after Chennai and Rajasthan Royals were suspended for two years and two new franchises — Pune and Gujarat Lions — were given the option of choosing up to five players each. 

He has been with the Pune franchise ever since. The man replacing him in the leadership role, the 27-year-old Smith, is currently the captain of the Australian cricket team in all three formats.

Pune, who were one of the two teams along with Gujarat Lions to be inducted last season in place of the the suspended Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, were plagued with injury issues.

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