It maight be too early to call MS Dhoni struggling with his form but Steven Smith's backing will definitely calm the water    AFP
It might be too early to call MS Dhoni struggling with his form but Steven Smith’s backing will definitely calm the waters AFP

Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 has so far witnessed a dismal show from Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) former captain MS Dhoni. In the three games played so far, Dhoni has managed to score 11*, 05 and 12. Of late, there also have been doubts if Dhoni is still the same player who would be regarded as the best finisher in limited-overs cricket. To add more spice, Sourav Ganguly too had stated Dhoni may not be a good Twenty20 (T20) player. But in complete turn of events, the newly-appointed RPS skipper Steven Smith has backed Dhoni despite his poor form.

RPS are scheduled to play against Gujarat Lions (GL) at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot, on April 15 in what will the Match 13 of the ongoing IPL 2017. Talking to the assembled reporters on the eve of the game, Smith was quoted according to PTI as saying, “I am not bothered about his [Dhoni’s] form. He is a class player, and we have just played three games, so he will be fine (with the bat) in the tournament.”

RPS have played 3 games in the tournament so far and have won just one game against Mumbai Indians (MI) while lost the next two games against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and Delhi Daredevils (DD).Talking about their previous game against DD which they lost by 97 runs, Smith said, “It was a disappointing game for me and my team as I was not well while the team lost the game. Sometimes you get sick but now I have recovered and should be fine tomorrow.”

Talking about their previous game against DD which they lost by 97 runs, Smith said, “It was a disappointing game for me and my team as I was not well while the team lost the game. Sometimes you get sick but now I have recovered and should be fine tomorrow.”

But the Australian run-machine has lauded the effort of South-African leg-spinner Imran Tahir who has been amongst the top wicket-takers in the tournament so far. Praising Tahir, Smith said, “He has been good with his economy and taking wickets, which is important for us. He is number one bowler in the world in T20, he has good tricks in bowling, and he knows his game very well. He has been a key player for us so far and would remain so in the remaining matches.

GL were without Ravindra Jadeja who had played important role in helping Indian clinch the Test series against Australia just before the IPL 2017. But Jadeja, who was out due to an exhilerating home season, is likely to be playing his first IPL 2017 game, against RPS on April 15.

When asked Jadeja s comeback, Smith said, “He [Jadeja] is a quality player, he has been good in IPL and his inclusion would strengthen Gujarat Lions batting and bowling”.

Despite having lost 2 games out of 3, Smith is still optimistic about his side making it to top-four.

“It’s a long tournament and we have played only three games and have to play eleven more games. We hope to get the winning momentum quickly”, he said.