Dasgupta first met Smith three years back, when the young Australian had just joined the now defunct Pune Warriors India at the Indian Premier League (IPL). His passion and dedicated for the game had impressed Dasgupta, who was then a team official.
And on Monday, speaking to ABP Live, Dasgupta admitted that it’s the intense love for cricket that has helped Smith improve his game. “Despite being an young gun, he was given a chance to lead Pune Warriors simply because he had it in him. His leadership qualities were unique, and we knew he would be able to deliver the goods,” Dasgupta recollected.
With the Australian selectors choosing Smith over Brad Haddin as Michael Clarke’s replacement, Dasgupta felt that it will be a big moment for the youngster. “Unlike Clarke, Smith is more of an introvert. You would never see him talk much on the field, but he would make sure that things fall in place. That’s how you earn respect automatically,” the former India cricketer stressed.
During his stint with the Pune Warriors India, Smith would ensure that he doesn’t lose plot. “Even during team outings, Smith would constantly discuss about cricket. I haven’t seen so dedicated players like him and Michael Hussey. They live by cricket,” he felt. “Smith would never allow negativity to creep in and that’s what makes him different from others,” Dasgupta added.
As the Australian cricketers picked Smith as the new skipper, there have been talks on whether Indian selectors should also look beyond Mahendra Singh Dhoni? Dasgupta, however, doesn’t subscribe to such a view. “The situations are different. For Australia, it was the need of the hour to bring in a new captain, and Steve was their automatic choice. But what’s the hurry for India?.”
Making it clear that it would be unfair to take hasty decisions, Dasgupta felt that the selectors would certainly take a call when required. “The transition has to be smooth, and you just cant do that hastily. There’s no reason for India to rush things,” the former keeper said.
Having seen the young Aussie Smith emerge as one of the most after cricketers of the world, Dasgupta is confident that his old friend would be able to put up a good show, even in his new role!