When MS Dhoni stepped down as Indian captain in the shorter formats earlier this year after leading the side for a decade, one would have hoped to see his leadership skills in the Indian Premier League (IPL), in which he was the skipper of the Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS).
However, the news of Dhoni being removed as the captain of the relatively new franchise would have dashed such hopes harboured by his fans. Industrialist and RPS owner Sanjiv Goenka had earlier confirmed reports of the same, citing the team's poor results in the last edition as one of the reasons while naming Steve Smith, the Australian leader across formats, as the new skipper.
Dhoni has had a glorious run in the IPL, having been sold to the now-suspended Chennai Super Kings (CSK) franchise for a sum of Rs 7.5 crore ahead of the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2008. The Ranchi lad then led the Chennai franchise to back-to-back title wins in 2010 and 2011, aside from winning the Champions League T20 in 2010 and 2014. His run with the Pune franchise, which along with Gujarat Lions was formed in the wake of the suspension of CSK and Rajasthan Royals, was not as successful as the side barely managed to avoid the wooden spoon with five wins and nine losses last year.
Dhoni though, continues to hold the record for most matches as captain in the league, having captained CSK and RPS in 129 and 14 games respectively. With a total of 83 wins (accounted for both teams), he also happens to be the most successful captain in the league's history.
Let us now take a look at how the cricket fraternity, as well as others, reacted to the news on the micro-blogging site Twitter:
Not the real Viru, but a legit question nevertheless.
MS Dhoni removed as RPSG's captain, Last Year they lost matches, this year they'll lose their fans too?
— Virender Sehwag (@VirenderSehweg) February 19, 2017
Fair point, given how active Dhoni is when it comes to setting fields and making DRS-related calls.
Dada too, had a rather unfortunate time with another Pune franchise.
Sourav Ganguly, MS Dhoni.
Not a legit captain until Pune takes you down.
— Nikhil 🏏 (@CricCrazyNIKS) February 19, 2017
Those big hits helped RPS avoid a last-place finish in IPL 2016.
MS #Dhoni's Last 5 Balls As A Captain Of #RisingPuneSupergiants - 6 0 4 6 6. RT If You Still Want Him As Captain. #IPL10 #IPL2017 pic.twitter.com/QIucZ3hIyc — Sir Ravindra Jadeja (@SirJadeja) February 19, 2017
A look at Dhoni's stats as T20 captain, compared to that of his replacement at RPS.
— Freddie Wilde (@fwildecricket) February 19, 2017
More stats on Dhoni the leader.
Dhoni is the only player to captain in each of the first 9 IPL editions. In the upcoming IPL, he won't. — Bharath Seervi (@SeerviBharath) February 19, 2017
— Zuhair Mirza (@zuhairbmirza) February 19, 2017
Something most Indian fans aren't quite ready to accept yet.
Apparently Steve Smith replaces MSD as Pune's captain. So, quite possibly, we might have already seen the last of Captain Dhoni. — Vinayakk (@vinayakkm) February 19, 2017