Frustration has been written all over the Rising Pune Super Giants (RPS) captain’s face as his overseas players have been hit with injuries and the team continues to lose miserably. MS Dhoni first lost Kevin Pietersen and termed it as a blessing in disguise but last week he lost Faf du Plessis and the team decided to sign Australian Usman Khawajah as a replacement.
To make matters worse, Mitch Marsh went down with an injury and was ruled out of the season. The only overseas batsman and player in top form was Australian captain Steven Smith who scored a fantastic 45 runs in just 23 balls at a strike rate close to 200 against the Mumbai Indians on May 1. However it wasn’t enough for the RPS who could post just 159 which the Mumbai Indians chased down easily as their skipper Rohit Sharma hit an unbeaten 85 to take them home.
The defeat left MS Dhoni searching for answers but soon news would emerge that Steven Smith would not be a part of the rest of the season as he was ruled out with a wrist injury. While it does not appear to be a serious injury, Australia was keen to take precautions and rest their captain who needs to be fit for the tour to the West Indies which takes place at the end of this month.
In a statement, Alex Kountouris, Australia’s sports science and sports medicine manager said “Steve has been struggling with pain in his right wrist for the last week during his stint in the IPL. We have been working with his IPL franchise Pune to monitor this, and unfortunately it has not resolved.
It seems very strange that four overseas players from the RPS would get injured within a span of two weeks and be ruled out for the rest of the tournament. It might be a blessing in disguise for them as the RPS has performed extremely poorly much to the disappointment of the team owners and the players have also had to put up with a frustrated MS Dhoni who has not been afraid to show or voice his disappointment.
Dhoni had been especially critical of the bowling unit and stated that the team cannot win when they leak so many runs. However with the series of injuries to his overseas players, his biggest issue right now is finding quality replacements and trying to get them to gel with the rest of the team in the middle of the tournament.