MS Dhoni finds himself in unchartered waters with his new franchise the Rising Pune SuperGiants (RPS). Dhoni has had a successful tenure as captain of the Indian cricket team and his former Chennai Super Kings (CSK) franchise but has found it difficult to rally his troops at RPS and churn out wins.
The RPS has played five games so far in the 2016 edition and has lost four out of those five games. While Dhoni has a new unit to captain, the RPS franchise has a number of senior players including South African T20 captain Faf Du Plessis, Australian T20 captain Steven Smith, former England captain Kevin Pietersen and experienced Indian players such as R Ashwin and A Rahane.
There are four main areas where the RPS is currently hurting.
Opening Batsmen: While both A Rahane and Faf Du Plessis have strung together good partnerships and been in fine form, they have scored at a rather slow pace and have found it hard to capitalize during the first six powerplay overs and get the team of to a strong start.
Death Bowler: Dhoni had the services of D Bravo in CSK and J Bumrah for India and relied on them to bowl the death overs and keep the runs down. He is yet to find a reliable death bowler and that has severely hurt the chances of the RPS.
Pinch Hitter: RPS has found it hard during the final five overs to turn up the tempo and clear the boundary. Dhoni has relied on T Perera and A Morkel during the past couple of games but there will always be concerns over their consistency. Apart from Dhoni himself, there is no consistent six hitter present in the line-up.
R Ashwin Dilemma: Dhoni always used R Ashwin as his go-to man in CSK but something has happened of late that has caused Dhoni to lose confidence in R Ashwin and he has chosen to not have R Ashwin send down his full quota of overs in RPS matches.
In a statement, Dhoni said “No excuses for us. It’s not about what should have happened. It’s about how you execute your plans in the field. That is when you relish it and what it takes to win games in the pressure, We are definitely lacking it, especially the bowling unit. Someone like an Ashwin, he is new and he will feel the pressure. You can advise individuals, but when you have the ball, nothing can be done for you. Overall plenty of areas where we have to improve.”