This 2016 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will feature two brand new teams who are replacing the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals who received a two year ban because the team owners were involved in illegal activities revolving around sports betting.
The two new teams are the Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) and the Gujarat Lions who have selected a number of players from the two banned franchises. The RPS team is owned by the New Rising Promoters which is backed by its parent company, the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group.
The team jersey was recently unveiled by franchise owner Sanjiv Goenka and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the captain of the RPS. The multi-coloured jersey is very distinct and so is the team combination for the RPS. The franchise decided to invest heavily in the reverse bidding process that the BCCI conducted and have bought Indian superstars MS Dhoni, R Ashwin and A Rahane.
This new RPS team has also bought a number of ex and current international captains as they have acquired the services of Steven Smith, Faf Du Plessis and Kevin Pietersen. Dhoni has already played with Faf Du Plessis during his time with the Chennai Super Kings, but will now have to build and lead a completely new set of players.
In a statement, MS Dhoni said “After eight years of IPL, it feels different to lead a different team. I spent eight years with the Super Kings players. They were special and consistent”. Dhoni also made reference to Pietersen by saying “It is good to have Pietersen in the team. He is going to bolster our side.”
Dhoni has a good side as the RPS have picked a number of senior international and Indian players. Some of the well known international players include Albie Morkel, Mitchell Marsh, Thisara Perera and Scott Boland. Dhoni also has an experienced bunch of domestic players to choose from including, RP Singh, Ashok Dinda, Ishant Sharma, Irfan Pathan, Baba Aparajith and Ishwar Pandey.
The RPS captain stated that it will be a completely new experience for him to play against some of his old CSK mates as Suresh Raina has been chosen to be captain for the other new IPL Franchise, the Gujarat Lions. Dhoni will be under pressure this season to get the new franchise into the semi-finals, if not there could be pressure for the captaincy to change hands in the next edition of the IPL.