IPL 2017 final: MS Dhoni-Steve Smith communication has been outstanding, says Stephen Fleming

first_imgRising Pune Supergiant coach Stephen Fleming said Steve Smith and Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s “outstanding” relationship was key to the team’s success this season as they eye their maiden Indian Premier League title.Smith-led Rising Pune Supergiant will take on Mumbai Indians in the IPL 2017 final on Sunday at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.Fleming tried to downplay the rumours of rift between Smith and Dhoni, who was replaced by the 27-year-old Australian as captain of the Pune franchise before the start of the season.”Between the two of them it has been outstanding. Much has been made of the relationship. Certainly sitting with them, it has been influential for the youngsters, beneficial for the senior players, and it has been helpful for me. So it has been a great dynamic to be part of,” Fleming said on the eve of the final.The change in captaincy appeared to have been prompted by Pune’s ordinary outing last year when they finished seventh in the points table after winning just five of their 14 matches.Under Smith, Pune have enjoyed a massive turnaround, reaching their maiden IPL final.Fleming also defended Dhoni, who has been under criticism from many quarters for his below-par show this season.Dhoni, regarded as one of the best limited-overs finishers to have ever played the game, managed to score 280 runs in 15 matches, including one half-century.”Dhoni has been very successful. He is one of the most successful players of the last decade to have played,” said Fleming, who has been associated with with Dhoni since the first edition of the league in 2008. The former New Zealand captain was also the coach of the now suspended Chennai Super Kings franchise, which was led by Dhoni.advertisement”He has been criticised for not doing as much, but what you have to appreciate is how good he was when he was doing it time and time again,” he added.Dhoni is set to become the first player in history to make it to the IPL final for the seventh time when he takes the field on Sunday.”Another opportunity to win a final for him, something that I know he is up for and motivated for. It has been good this year, he has played some cameo roles,” Fleming said.last_img

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