Steve Smith will lead Rajasthan Royals in the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League League (IPL), the franchise confirmed on Friday. The former Australia skipper, who missed the last year’s edition because of the ball-tampering scandal, returned to IPL this year. He had started the competition just as a batsman before replacing Ajinkya Rahane as captain after the team’s disastrous start.
Smith is not new to captaining an IPL side. In 2017, he had replaced MS Dhoni as the captain of Rising Pune Supergiant and had done wonders. The Australia star had led the team to the final where it suffered a narrow loss to Mumbai Indians.
Rajasthan Royals also confirmed the release of as many as eleven players. The released players are Ashton Turner, Oshane Thomas, Shubham Ranjane, Prashant Chopra, Ish Sodhi, Aryaman Birla, Jaydev Unadkat, Rahul Tripathi, Stuart Binny, Liam Livingstone and Sudheshan Midhun.
Royals had bought Unadkat in the last auction for a whopping Rs 8.40 crore. However, the pacer failed miserably, picking up 10 wickets in 11 games while conceding nearly 11 runs per over. Turner, on the other hand, made the news for all the wrong reasons after bagging ducks in all of his first three games and eventually finished the tournament with 3 runs from 4 games.
The Royals have also parted ways with Livingstone who is one of the most sought T20 batsman across the world. The right-handed batsman made his debut in IPL this year and did manage to make an impression. The Lancashire star played four games and scored at a strike-rate of more than 147. He is one of the best performers in England’s T20 Blast in recent years.
? @stevesmith49 @ParagRiyan @JofraArcher @benstokes38 @josbuttler @VarunAaron @MahipalLomror @ShreyasGopal19 @shashank2191 @IamSanjuSamson @ImMananVohra#HallaBol | #IPLRetention | #RoyalsFamily | #VivoIPL
— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) November 15, 2019
The Royals, meanwhile, have also let Ajinkya Rahane, Dhawala Kulkarni and Krishnappa Gowtham leave on trade deals. In return they have secured the services of Evin Lewis, Ankit Rajpoot and Mayank Markande.