India's limited overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was named captain of Rising Pune Supergiants, owned…
Mahendra Singh Dhoni feels ‘different’ about captaining a new team in the Indian Premier League for the first time in eight years and says he has not moved on from his days at the now suspended Chennai Super Kings.
“I would be lying if I say I have moved on. That is the special part of being a human being. There is got to be an emotional connect after eight years (with CSK),” said Dhoni at the jersey launch of his new team, the Rising Pune Supergiants.
Usually calm and composed on the field, Dhoni got a tad emotional when asked about the team he led since the inception of the IPL.
“If you want me to be politically correct, that is not how I am. After eight years of IPL, it feels very different to play for any other team. All of a sudden if you want me to say that I am very excited to play for a new team, don’t give credit to CSK and the fans for the love and affection they have given us, it will be wrong.
“But as a professional, I would like to thank the Pune team for taking me. Of course there will be added responsibility as captain but as a professional we are supposed to do the job with more than 100 hundred percent commitment. And that is what we will try to do,” said the India limited-overs captain, a day after leading the team to a T20 series win over Sri Lanka.
Dhoni said he will miss playing alongside the likes of Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Brendon McCullum before exuding confidence in the players picked for the new team.
“There are a lot of players we will miss. We were together for eight years, our core group was the same.
On playing against long-time India and CSK teammate Raina, who will captain the other new team Gujarat Lions, Dhoni said: “We all know how destructive Raina is. At the same time, he will just not be playing me and us, he will be playing against the other teams too. He will be trying his best to do well. We have to make sure that we do the job that is expected from us.”
The maverick Kevin Pietersen is also part of the Pune unit. Asked about his plans to deal with former England batsman, Dhoni said “we will wait and watch”.
“Every player will have a role in the team. There is a basic way every cricketer plays. KP is fantastic, somebody who is aggressive and expressive on the field. Not only has that, he like other seniors, had an added responsibility to groom the youngsters. We will have to wait and watch (about KP’s behaviour) but I don’t think it will be an issue,” added Dhoni.
Besides Dhoni, the other big players in the Pune team are Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, Australia captain Steven Smith and South African batsmen Faf du Plessis.
Dhoni is also pleased about CSK coach Stephen Fleming joining him at Pune.
“The life becomes slightly easy with him around. We know each other for long time. He is a fantastic coach. His management skills are very good. What I really like is that he is calm like me.
On Rahane, he said: “He is someone who is very consistent. He may not be part of the playing 11 regularly in the T20 Internationals but that is because your openers Rohit (Sharma) and Shikhar (Dhawan) are doing really well. But if you look at his performances in the IPL, Rahane is among top-two, top three batsmen”.
Kanitkar named assistant coach
Former India cricketer Hrishikesh Kanitkar has been named assistant coach of the new Indian Premier League franchise — Rising Pune Supergiants — for the upcoming season to be held from April 9 to May 29.
Kanitkar, who played two Tests in 1999-2000 and 34 ODIs, is remembered for his heroics in the final match of the Independence Cup against Pakistan in 1998.
The gutsy left hander hit a boundary off Saqlain Mushtaq, when India required three runs to win from two balls, in fading light to enable them post a memorable victory over the arch-rivals in Dhaka, chasing a 300-plus target.
With 8,059 runs in 105 matches, Kanitkar is in the top five highest run-getters in Ranji Trophy.
In July 2015, Kanitkar announced his retirement from international cricket.
The Rising Pune Supergiants have already named Stephen Fleming as the head coach.