Kolkata: Australian Steve Smith has replaced Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the captain of Rising Pune Supergiants for the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the franchise announced on Sunday.
The move comes after Dhoni stepped down as the Indian captain in the limited-overs format before the start of the England cricket series.
“I have the highest regard for M.S. 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 franchisee’s best interests in mind,” Rising Pune Supergiants owner Sanjiv Goenka said in a statement.
Smith, 27, is considered as one of the best batsmen among the current generation. The Australian Test and One-Day International (ODI) sides captain has been part several IPL franchises in the past with stints with Pune Warriors, Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The decision to name him the Pune team’s comes a day before the players’ auctions scheduled to be held in Bengaluru.
Dhoni has been the most successful in skippering the now suspended IPL side Chennai Super Kings, leading the southern outfit to two crowns in in 2010 and 2011. Besides, he also led Chennai to the Champions League T20 trophies in 2010 and 2014.
He was the first to be picked in the only draft of players held in the IPL in December 2015, and two new franchises Pune and Gujarat Lions were given the option of choosing up to five players each from Chennai and Rajasthan Royals which were suspended for two years.
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