New Delhi: Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) are set to take on Mumbai Indians (MI) in the final of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 season, but that hasn't stopped the Pune franchise owner Sanjeev Goneka from comparing two of the most important players in his team. (IPL 2017 - Full Coverage | Photos)
In an interview with Hindustan Times, Goenka lauded Dhoni as one of the greatest minds but said Aussie skipper Steve Smith is even one step ahead.
“MS is one of the greatest minds I have interacted with. And he is the best wicketkeeper in the world,” Goenka told HT on Friday.
“The one mind ahead of Dhoni’s is Smith’s,” he further said, referring to RPS captain Steve Smith. “My brief to Smith was: ‘win the championship".
So far, Sanjeev's brother Harsh has been causing a stir on Twitter with his 'anti-Dhoni' posts, but this time it was the top boss himself making a controversial comment.
“It’s difficult to believe the way he has planned some dismissals, the tact and firmness with which he has dealt with tricky situations and the win-or-nothing attitude he has been able to infuse in the team, get them to gel as a unit. And he’s gone out in the strategic timeouts to tell batsmen to either score 30 off the next 12 balls or get out. If we had a bad start, it was because Smith was out with food poisoning,” Goenka added while praising the Australian.
“You need to win eight-nine games to make the playoffs and Smith told me that between him, (Imran) Tahir and (Ben) Stokes, we would win seven. And players of the calibre of MS will always give you something. We had more match winners this time, players who would need five-six balls to settle down instead of 20. And we hadn’t factored in Rahul Tripathi, Washington Sundar and Jaydev Unadkat. Tripathi and Sundar are going to be serious players on the Indian cricket scene,” he added.
The Supergiant, which incurred a disastrous season in 2016, had to change a lot in their approach which resulted in the team reaching the final this term.
“The first season was a disaster and I wanted it to end soonest, with our dignity intact,” said Goenka.
As compared to last season, RPS have changed 11 players. “The team got younger, fitter and more energetic. So, we have fielded better. This time, with whom players’ loyalties lay didn’t matter.”
Not just that, Goenka also revealed that the management also learnt to deal with the fragile egos of the stars of his team.
“We didn’t want to be like a franchise that doesn’t invest its Rs 66 crore purse and is happy finishing fifth, but last year I didn’t know better. Also, with the World T20 around, we didn’t have time.”
Rising Pune Supergiant will lock horns with Mumbai Indians on May 21, hoping to get their hands on silverware before being dissolved ahead of the 2018 season.