Australian star Steve Smith says captaining MS Dhoni in the 2017 IPL (Indian Premier League) was “a little bit daunting” but he also learned to be calm and level-headed by spending time with the Indian great.
In that season, Smith led the Rising Pune Super Giants (RPS) squad that also featured Dhoni, as Chennai Super Kings was serving a two-year ban from the competition.
Smith, who will be a part of the commentary team in the upcoming season, led the franchise to the final of the tournament in 2017, narrowly missing out on the title by just one run.
Recalling his experiences of captaining RPS and how Dhoni played a big role in that season, Smith told Star Sports, “When I got the call to say that they wanted me to captain, it was a little bit daunting. But that season, MSD was just wonderful. You know, he helped in any way that he could and he’s a terrific guy.
“It was a great experience being able to captain him, but also very daunting as well.”
Smith also spoke on the emotions he went through when he was picked as the captain of the RPS team and how he felt leading a side with Dhoni in it.
“Yeah, I didn’t really know what to expect initially, you know, MS had captained every team he played for, obviously throughout the IPL with Chennai, every season should I say.
“But yeah, when they came and asked me, I was a little bit shocked first, and then I didn’t really know what to say. It was like, have you spoken to MS about this? This is a little bit strange from my side, but after we sorted everything out, MS was just wonderful.
“And the way he helped me and helped guide that team that year was incredible. And yeah, I couldn’t thank him enough.”
Smith also said he was bouncing ideas off Dhoni.
“He was someone that I was bouncing ideas off. You know, being behind the stumps, he’s got a great, great view of the game. He understands the angles really well and obviously playing in India also, you know, it’s his home and he understands those conditions as well as anyone would.”
The Australian spoke about what he has been able to learn and emulate from Dhoni over the years.
“I think just the calmness that MS shows, we saw it throughout his career, just how calm he was. It didn’t look like he was flustered by any emotions or anything like that.
“And that’s certainly something that I’ve taken in not just in that season, but just watching him go about his business in the prior years, just how calm and relaxed he was. And you know, at times I can get quite agitated and things like that.
“So you know, I have to try and keep myself as calm and as sort of level-headed as I can. And yeah, that’s certainly something that I learned off of MS.”