Perhaps, the best way to deal with implicit criticism bordering on the rude and condescending is to hit the dance floor, do a jig, get a puzzling bit of it on the video and post the mood on Instagram. That’s what MS Dhoni has done after two lousy displays with his bat for Rising Pune Supergiant, but the message will be explicit for the timing and impact it should make if he could remix it with a good show on the field against Delhi Daredevils on Tuesday. If the man who has now been reduced to a string of glittering ‘former’ tags—such as the former captain of the Indian Test team, the former captain of the Indian limited-overs team, the former captain of the now-defunct Chennai Super Kings, the former captain of Rising Pune Supergiant and the famed former finisher—could do that is a matter of monumental interest in the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League. Odds are, sadly, stacked against Dhoni. If we go by what RPS owner Sanjiv Goenka would say on the change of leadership, it was all “amicable”, but the tweets from his brother Harsh in the last few days take us to a reality that may not be amicable. The first tweet by Harsh, that has now been deleted after massive protests from Dhoni fans on social media, after the RPS victory against Mumbai Indians was actually a statement of the obvious: Steve Smith is now the king of the Pune jungle. The opening and the closing lines—“Smith proves who’s the king of the jungle...Captains innings...Great move to appoint him as captain”—were all fine, but in the middle—“Overshadows Dhoni totally”—the owners were meddling in an unholy muddle in the making. Harsh’s screenshot tweet after the RPS defeat at the hands of Kings XI Punjab had Dhoni still in his handle range. Dhoni scored 17 from two matches compared to 110 by Smith and 79 by Rahane. Forget the total runs scored—Dhoni is way down even in the matter of strike rate: at fifth with a poor 73, behind Ajinkya Rahane, Smith, Ben Stokes and Manoj Tiwary. If that’s what Harsh is hinting at, what’s it all about? An owners’ plot to provoke the legend to get the best out of him or a cheap trick to gain eyeballs to their team? The first time we had seen Dhoni dance was in January 2016, and that was soon after he was bought in the auction by RPS. It was a “lungi dance” with Prabhu Deva to promote a motorbike brand just ahead of the Pongal festival, perhaps as a surprise package for Chennai Super Kings fans. This time around, he was wearing the Pune jersey, and the guys joining him were Rahane and Ben All Smiles Stokes. A moment to feel upbeat about team bonding and send a message across, perhaps. All said and done, what matters is performance. Dhoni is not the finisher he used to be. The pulls and misses in the 19th over in the first match when the target was 18 runs from 10 balls, followed by two more heaves that yielded just one run each in the last over, summed up the tale of his struggle. How Dhoni could redefine himself and last as long as he would like to, in the IPL and in the Indian team, is a matter of great curiosity for millions of his die-hard fans. In the meantime, he remains Indians’ pride. Owners shouldn’t mix pride with prejudice.