While his franchise is busy preparing for the IPL final, RPS owner Sanjiv Goenka has added fresh spice in the unending controversy of ‘Dhoni vs Smith battle’ by asserting that the Aussie captain has a better mind than the Indian stalwart.
Speaking in an interview with ‘Hindustan Times’ ahead of RPS’ final against Mumbai Indians on Sunday, Goenka praised MSD but kept Smith a notch above the former Indian skipper.
He said, “MS is one of the greatest minds I have interacted with. And he is the best wicketkeeper in the world. The one mind ahead of Dhoni’s is Smith’s. My brief to Smith was: ‘win the Championship’.”
Goenka tried to sound diplomatic after rating Smith higher than Dhoni, but it was clear as to whom the Pune owner considered the best in the team. “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,” said Goenka.
Also Read: What prompted RPS owners to sack M.S. Dhoni
However, he was quick to add, “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.”
Sanjeev’s light jibe at India’s most successful skipper is not the first instance of the Pune owner targeting the wicket-keeper batsman. Prior to the auctions of IPL 10, Dhoni was sacked from captaincy and the team reigns were handed to Steven Smith. During the tournament also, Sanjeev’s brother Harsh Goenka fired a salvo at MSD terming Smith as the ‘king of the jungle’ in a tweet. He also mentioned that the Aussie overshadowed Dhoni and hailed move to appoint the former as the skipper of RPS as a great one.
Nevertheless, no matter what the owners try to say, the players involved will surely try to keep their focus on the all-important match on Sunday with an aim to lift the trophy before being dissolved prior to the 2018 edition of the tournament.