RPS made it to the IPL 2017 final because of MS Dhoni and not Steve Smith: Rajat Bhatia

RPS made it to the IPL 2017 final because of MS Dhoni and not Steve Smith: Rajat Bhatia

Smith had led RPS to the final of the 2017 IPL edition after replacing Dhoni as the skipper.

Steve Smith and MS Dhoni
Steve Smith and MS Dhoni. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Back in 2016 and 2017, the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) took part in the Indian Premier League (IPL) when Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) were serving their two-year suspension period. Even as in the 2016 edition, RPS flattered to deceive, they ended as the runners-up in 2017 under the leadership of Steve Smith.

In fact, it was Smith, who replaced MS Dhoni as the skipper in 2017 after the latter couldn’t perform to expectations in 2016. However, Rajat Bhatia, who played for the franchise back then, reckons that Dhoni was the reason behind RPS doing well in the IPL 2017 and not Smith. In 2017, RPS played the final against five-time champions Mumbai Indians (MI).

Steve Smith didn’t even know Rahul Tripathi represents which state: Rajat Bhatia

Bhatia was clear cut in saying that unlike Dhoni, who has knowledge about the players in the team, Smith didn’t have much awareness about the members in the side. Bhatia, who retired from all forms of cricket in July 2020, stated that one can’t compare Dhoni with Smith.

“For me, a successful captain in IPL is one who is an Indian player and know the domestic cricketers very well. Smith didn’t even know Rahul Tripathi represents which state or bats at what position. We [Rising Pune Supergiant] made it to IPL 2017 final because of MS Dhoni and not Steve Smith,” Bhatia was quoted as saying in an interview with SportsTiger.

“You can never compare Dhoni with Steve Smith. If we look at all the 10 franchises, Smith doesn’t even feature in the top 10 captains for me. Smith had no idea about captaincy and he did not know which bowler to bring in amid a crucial situation and who to trust for the death overs. I was surprised that Rajasthan Royals trusted him with the leadership role and now they let them go,” he added.

Smith wasn’t a part of the 2018 IPL due to the ball-tampering scandal, but in 2019, he made his way into the Royals’ team. In the same year, he was also given the captaincy duties after Ajinkya Rahane couldn’t perform. In 2020, RR finished at the bottom of the table with Smith as the captain.