Former Australian skipper Steven Smith is unlikely to lead Rajasthan Royals in the upcoming Indian Premier League. Smith is currently serving one year ban for his role in the ball-tampering controversy. India’s vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane who led the franchise in the previous season is going to lead Rajasthan Royals once again.

Meanwhile, Rajasthan Royals had made it to the playoff stages in the previous season of the league. However, they lost to Kolkata Knight Riders in the Eliminator of IPL 2018.

Steven Smith, IPL
Steven Smith (Credits – BCCI)

Smith will look to hit the straps in IPL 2019.

On the other hand, Rajasthan Royals decided not to release Steven Smith ahead of the IPL 2019 Auctions. They had released Jaydev Unadkat and then bought him back for INR 8.4 crores.

Thus, the franchise saved almost three crores on Unadkat as they purchased him for INR 11.5 crores in IPL 2018 Auction. However, he could not deliver the goods with the ball.

Unadkat was the second highest wicket-taker in IPL 2017 with 24 wickets. Consequently, he got a high price in IPL 2018. Meanwhile, Rajasthan Royals were the champions of the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League. However, they haven’t gone all the way since the first season of the tourney.

Steven Smith, Big Bash League, Cricket Australia
Steven Smith. Credit: Getty Images

Steven Smith was retained for INR 12 crores in IPL 2018 Auction. However, he could be part of the league as he was banned by Cricket Australia for one year for the ball tampering scandal. In fact, Royals could have released him and then bought him back like Jaydev Unadkat to save themselves a few crores. However, the franchise was not in the mood to release their former skipper.

Steven Smith was the skipper of the Rising Pune Supergiant in IPL 2017 and had also led them to the final of the league. Smith will like to hit the ground running in IPL to prepare himself for the World Cup. Meanwhile, the talisman batsman is currently plying on his trade in the Bangladesh Premier League.