​NEW DELHI: Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been removed as skipper of his Indian Premier League (IPL) team with Australia’s Steve Smith replacing him for the upcoming tournament, an official statement said on Sunday.

Dhoni, who stepped down as India’s limited-overs captain last month, will continue to play as wicketkeeper-batsman for the Rising Pune Supergiants in the Twenty20 franchise-based competition that begins April 5.

“Rising Pune Supergiant today announced the appointment of Steve Smith as their new captain for the forthcoming edition of IPL season 10,” a team statement said.

Team owner Sanjiv Goenka said Dhoni “is supportive of the decision, keeping the franchise’s best interests in mind”.

Under 35-year-old Dhoni’s captaincy, the Pune team finished second last in their debut IPL season in 2016, winning only five games and losing nine.

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