New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) When the reigns of captaincy were handed over to Steve Smith ahead of the 2017 edition of the IPL, the spotlight was on how the Australian cricketer would lead a side that had MS Dhoni, one of the most successful IPL captains, as its member.
However, with the constant support and guidance of Dhoni, Smith successfully led the franchise to the finals of the tournament, narrowly missing out on the title by just one run. Now, as Smith returns to the IPL 2023 as part of the expert panel on Star Sports, he fondly recollects his experiences of working with Dhoni and leading a team with the legendary Indian cricketer as his teammate.
In an interview with Star Sports, Smith spoke about his experience of captaining the Rising Pune Supergiants in the 2017 IPL and the significant role played by former Indian skipper MS Dhoni in that season.
Smith, who was initially daunted by the idea of leading a team that had Dhoni in it, expressed his gratitude towards the legendary cricketer for his guidance and support on and off the field. He also spoke about the valuable lessons he learned from Dhoni's calm and composed demeanor, which he has since tried to emulate in his own leadership style.
"Of course, you know he's been able to achieve so much over such a long period of time, he's going to go down as one of the best leaders to play the game for sure. So, you know, when I got the call to say that they wanted me to captain, it was a little bit daunting. But that season, MSD was just wonderful. You know, he helped in any way that he could and, he's a terrific guy. It was a great experience being able to captain him, but also very daunting as well," Smith said.
He also spoke on the emotions he went through when he got selected as the captain of the RPS team and how he felt leading a side which had MS Dhoni in it. "Yeah, I, I didn't really know what to expect initially, you know, MS had captained every team he played for, obviously throughout the IPL with Chennai, every season should I say. But yeah, when they came and asked me, I was a little bit shocked first, and then I didn't really know what to say. It was like, have you spoken to MS about this? This is a little bit strange from my side, but after we sorted everything out, MS was just wonderful. And the way he helped me and helped guide that team that year was incredible. And yeah, I couldn't thank him enough."
Smith recalled how it was to work on the field with Dhoni, he said, "Well, it was a while ago now, but yeah, look out on the field. He was someone that I was bouncing ideas off. You know, being behind the stumps, he's got a great, great view of the game. He understands the angles really well and obviously playing in India also, you know, it's his home and he understands those conditions as well as anyone would. So, you know, I would've been stupid if I wasn't trying to get as much knowledge as I could out of him in the middle. And yeah, he was very helpful and certainly helped us achieve what we did that year."
"I think just the calmness that MS shows, we saw it throughout his career, just how calm he was. It didn't look like he was flustered by any emotions or anything like that. And that's certainly something that I've taken in not just in that season, but just watching him go about his business in the prior years, just how calm and relaxed he was. And you know, at times I can get quite agitated and things like that. So you know, I have to try and keep myself as calm and as sort of level-headed as I can. And yeah, that's certainly something that I learned off of MS."
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