Rajasthan Royals likely to release Steve Smith
Australia batting mainstay Steve Smith is likely to be released by Rajasthan Royals ahead of the 2021 IPL auction. Smith’s middling form as a batsman as well as his weak impact as a leader could be the reason behind the omission.
The inaugural IPL champions will take a final call shortly, as the deadline for submitting the final list of retained players in January 20. The player auction will be held in February.
In the latest season of IPL, Smith played all 14 matches for his IPL franchise scoring 311 runs at a strike rate of 131 but it was not much of an impactful campaign for the Royals, and that is one of the main reasons behind the franchise thinking of offloading him.
The Australian premier batsman was part of the Rajasthan Royals in the 2014 and 2015 seasons before the team got banned for two years from the IPL. Ahead of the 2018 season, Smith was the only player retained. or INR 12.5 crore (about USD 1.953 million then).
But after getting banned for two years due to his role in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, Ajinkya Rahane became the new captain of the side for the 2018 season. In 2019, Smith was given the role of a captain once again in what was considered to be a ‘fresh approach’.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan will have to think of a new captain in case Smith is released. Sanju Samson could be a good choice given his outstanding performance (375 runs at a strike rate of nearly 159; highest for his side) in the 13th edition of the league. Though the likes of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes are more experienced than Samson, the management is understood to be not keen on either of the English pair becoming the new captain.
On Monday, Samson led Kerala in their first match of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.