MS Dhoni is one of the greatest minds I have interacted with, says Sanjiv Goenka

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MS Dhoni is one of the greatest minds I have interacted with, says Sanjiv Goenka

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SportsCafe Desk


Pune franchise owner Sanjiv Goenka is in awe of MS Dhoni and said the former India captain possesses one of the greatest minds he has ever come across. A leading industrialist, Sanjiv also said Steve Smith's "win-or-nothing" attitude was the only reason the Australian replaced Dhoni as skipper.

Dhoni being sacked as Rising Pune Supergiant captain did not go down well with his army of fans. After all, not only had Dhoni led India to World T20, 50-over World Cup and Champions Trophy crowns, he remains IPL's most successful skipper.

Sanjiv's brother, Harsh, added fuel to the fire by tweeting "numbers" that showed Dhoni in poor light, which left the Indian wicketkeeper's fans fuming further. However, Sanjiv has now come out and explained the thought process behind the change.

“MS is one of the greatest minds I have interacted with. And he is the best wicketkeeper in the world,” Sanjiv told Hindustan Times.

“My brief to Smith was: win the championship. It’s difficult to believe the way he has planned some dismissals, the tact and the 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.”

Change in captaincy worked for the two-season-old Pune which won nine of their last 11 games to make it to their maiden final.  The franchise bought Ben Stokes for Rs. 14.5 crores at the auction and were quick to rope in Imran Tahir after Ravichandran Aswin was ruled out with an injury.

“You need to win eight-nine games to make the play-offs 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. I think Tripathi and Sundar are going to be serious players on the Indian cricket scene,” Sanjiv added.

After the team finished seventh last season, Sanjiv said that he knew some tough decisions needed to be made.

“The first season was a disaster and I wanted it to end soonest, with our dignity intact,” Sanjiv recollected. "From last season, RPS changed 11 players. The team got younger, fitter and more energetic. So, we have fielded better. This time, with whom players’ loyalties lay, didn’t matter.

"We didn’t want to be like a franchise that doesn’t invest its Rs 66 crore purse and is happy finishing fifth but last year, I didn’t know better. Also, with the World T20 around, we didn’t have time.”

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