The game of cricket is a game changer for captains and players as well as this year’s IPL saw Dhoni being removed or sacked from the Rising Pune Supergiants as skipper for the 2017 Indian Premier League. The sacking was necessitated after the poor show of the Pune outfit last season with five wins from 14 matches and after quitting Indian team captaincy from the shorter forms of the game. Form is temporary and class is permanent did not come to the rescue of Indian captain as he failed to find his feather touch in batting and the earlier class of a finisher tag is running out of the former skipper. A younger and fitter Steve Smith has replaced him as the skipper of Pune side which is feeling the heat to make good in its second and last year of participation as both Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals will be back in business next season. Unless, Dhoni finds his wonted form in batting in front of the wicket and safe keeping from behind the stumps, then his place will go to a youngster with better keeping capabilities to play for Pune side. It is indeed a tricky game of cricket.
The word sacked should be withdrawn immediately. MS Dhoni brought high reputation for Indian team. The owners should issue apology for such coward statement. They should respect game and not only money power. They should also expose what is the political compulsion behind this scenario otherwise any business house won’t go to such low level. Dhoni is supportive of the decision keeping the franchisee’s best interests in mind. He has extended his full co-operation and is ready to help Smith in decision-making on the field. While Dhoni is expected to keep his place in the side, the wicketkeeper-batsman is likely to be promoted up the order. According to me the burden of captaincy has been removed from Dhoni’s shoulders. He could have led Rising Pune Supergiants in a better way comparing to the last year.
Pune, who were one of the two teams along with Gujarat Lions to be inducted last season in place of the suspended Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals was plagued with injury issues. They avoided the wooden spoon to finish ahead of Kings XI Punjab at the seventh place in the eight-team standings of IPL 2015. Although the team started well with a win over Mumbai Indians in the first match, it failed to maintain the consistency with the likes of Kevin Pietersen, Faf du Plessis and Steven Smith all withdrawing due to injuries.
With Midas touch from the bat of Dhoni losing ground as a big match player, Dhoni damaka is diminishing slowly and now he is sacked as captain by an IPL franchise also. In competitive cricket it is better to quit when fans ask why instead of “why not”. Dhoni should hang his shoes in a most gracious way.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)