Star Australian batter Steve Smith recently opened up on his experience of playing alongside MS Dhoni and captaining him during the 2017 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The 33-year-old admitted that he felt nervous when the franchise asked him to lead the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiants for the 2017 edition.
Smith succeeded MS Dhoni for the 2017 season as Pune captain after the franchise finished seventh the year before. The Supergiants managed only five wins out of 14 games and missed out on a playoff spot. While Smith scored a hundred that season, he returned home midway due to an injury.
Speaking to Star Sports, the New South Wales batter revealed that he felt anxious about taking over from MS Dhoni, who has a rich captaincy legacy, but highlighted how the keeper-batter helped him in every possible way.
“When I got the call to say that they wanted me to be captain, it was a little bit daunting,” Smith said. “But that season, MSD was just wonderful. You know, he helped in any way that he could and he’s a terrific guy. 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, they came and asked me, I was a little bit shocked at 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.”
MS Dhoni is arguably one of the most decorated IPL cricketers and is considered the face of Chennai Super Kings (CSK). The 41-year-old has captained CSK to four titles and is the most-capped skipper in the tournament history.
“That’s certainly something I learned off of MS” – Steve Smith on staying calm
Steve Smith further claimed that he kept bouncing ideas off of Dhoni and was impressed by the former Indian captain’s ability to stay calm under pressure. He added:
“The way he helped me and helped guide that team that year was incredible. And yeah, I couldn’t thank him enough. He was someone that I was bouncing ideas off. 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. 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 I learned off of MS.”
While Steve Smith is not part of any franchise in IPL 2023, he will make his debut as a commentator in the tournament.