Steven Smith (Above) replaces MS Dhoni as Rising Pune Supergiants captain    AFP
Steven Smith (Above) replaces MS Dhoni as Rising Pune Supergiants captain AFP

Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) finished at seventh position in the previous edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). They will have a new skipper for this edition. MS Dhoni, who has won the IPL title several times with Chennai Super Kings (CSK), has been replaced by Australia skipper Steven Smith for IPL 2017. Dhoni as a result will play solely as a wicketkeeper this time just like he is for the India s limited-overs side after handing over the captaincy baton to Virat Kohli. RPS acquired the services of England all-rounder Ben Stokes for Rs. 14.5 crores in the auction. They have also acquired the services of Lockie Ferguson and all-rounder Dan Christian as well. READ: IPL 2017 revised Schedule: Fixture, Dates, Match Timings and Venue Details

Due to the municipal elections in Delhi, there needed to be a slight alteration in one of RPS schedule. The match on April 22, which was scheduled to be held in Delhi at 8 PM, has been rescheduled to 4 PM in Pune. RPS, who will be playing just their second season in the IPL, will look to put up a much better show this time around. Along with the new purchases, RPS also have the services of one of the best all-rounders in the world, Ravichandran Ashwin, at their disposal, along with the medium pacer Rajat Bhatia.

There is, however, a shadow of doubt over the participation of Mitchell Marsh. Marsh flew home in the middle of the Indian tour with an injury and is expected to face a long lay-off. RPS will be an all-rounder short without Marsh, but that is where Christian might turn out to be smart buy. He has had prior IPL experience, turning up for Deccan Chargers (DC) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). READ: IPL 2017 Auction Review: Sans Dhoni s leadership, daunting pressure on Stokes, Smith-led RPS have quite a task

Here is the full RPS Schedule:

Team 1 Team 2 Venue Date Day Time
Rising Pune Supergiants Mumbai Indians Pune 6-Apr Thu 8:00 PM
Kings XI Punjab Rising Pune Supergiants Indore 8-Apr Sat 4:00 PM
Rising Pune Supergiants Delhi Daredevils Pune 11-Apr Tue 8:00 PM
Gujarat Lions Rising Pune Supergiants Rajkot 14-Apr Fri 8:00 PM
Royal Challengers Bangalore Rising Pune Supergiants Bengaluru 16-Apr Sun 8:00 PM
Rising Pune Supergiants Sunrisers Hyderabad Pune 22-Apr Sat 4:00 PM
Mumbai Indians Rising Pune Supergiants Mumbai 24-Apr Mon 8:00 PM
Rising Pune Supergiants Kolkata Knight Riders Pune 26-Apr Wed 8:00 PM
Rising Pune Supergiants Royal Challengers Bangalore Pune 29-Apr Sat 4:00 PM
Rising Pune Supergiants Gujarat Lions Pune 1-May Mon 8:00 PM
Kolkata Knight Riders Rising Pune Supergiants Kolkata 3-May Wed 8:00 PM
Sunrisers Hyderabad Rising Pune Supergiants Hyderabad 6-May Sat 4:00 PM
Delhi Daredevils Rising Pune Supergiants Delhi 12-May Fri 8:00 PM
Rising Pune Supergiants Kings XI Punjab Pune 14-May Sun 4:00 PM

There will be immense pressure on Smith to do well, for he is replacing Dhoni as skipper, who has never stepped into the field in IPL as a non-captain. For the first time in IPL history, a Dhoni-led side finished outside the top 4 and that happened just last season. With the inclusion of Stokes in this edition, RPS will be looking to finish at a much respectable position. However, RPS do not lack quality overseas players. Usman Khawaja, Faf du Plessis and Adam Zampa, too, can come in when needed and contribute to the team s cause.

Rising Pune Supergiants squad for IPL 2017: Steven Smith (c), MS Dhoni (wk), Jaydev Unadkat, Ravichandran Ashwin, Rajat Bhatia, Mitchell Marsh, Ajinkya Rahane, Ben Stokes, Adam Zampa, Mayank Agarwal, Ankit Sharma, Deepak Chahar, Ishwar Pandey, Faf du Plessis, Baba Aparajith, Usman Khawaja, Jaskaran Singh, Ankush Bains, Ashok Dinda, Milind Tandon, Rahul Chahar, Rahul Tripathi, Dan Christian, Lockie Ferguson, Saurabh Kumar, Manoj Tiwary.