Jaipur, Mar : Recalling his IPL stint with Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS), domestic cricket veteran Rajat Bhatia on Wednesday said that MS Dhoni was the reason the team made it to the final in 2017 despite being replaced as captain by Steve Smith at the beginning of the season.
RPS featured in two IPL seasons – 2016 and 2017 – after Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals were handed a two-year ban.
Dhoni led the Pune-based franchise in its debut season but was replaced by Smith in 2017. The team made it to the IPL final that year but lost to Rohit Sharma-led MI by one run.
Speaking on SportsTiger’s interview series – Interact. Personal. Laugh & Life (IPLL) – Bhatia said, ‘You can never compare Dhoni with Steve Smith. Smith doesn’t even feature in top 10 captains for me. Dhoni was the reason we reached the IPL 2017 final.’
Bhatia also said he had been surprised when Smith had been named Rajasthan Royals captain.
He went on to say that Smith had no idea about captaincy and he did not know which bowler to bring in amid a crucial situation and who to trust for the death overs.
Bhatia have represented multiple IPL teams over the years and took 71 wickets in 95 matches.
Sharing his experience about playing under the captaincy of his Delhi teammate Gautam Gambhir, he said, ‘I really enjoyed playing under the captaincy of Gautam Gambhir. However, during his third year for Delhi Daredevils, there was a lack of maturity in his captaincy, maybe because it was his first ever role as a captain in the IPL and there were also a lot of changes made,’ Bhatia said.
‘When we both moved to KKR and he became the captain, I had a doubt whether I’ll be able to enjoy under his captaincy or not… He used to prefer me in his playing 11 and always used to tell me that he believed in me and knew how to use me. That’s why I enjoyed playing under him,’ he added.
Rajat further spoke about how every IPL franchise has their own say while choosing a captain and how they have a trust towards a known name and hence end up choosing an international player instead of local player.
He however disagrees and said ‘I have never been in favor of this. I think they don’t know much about the domestic cricketers.’