As we shift focus to the Indian Premier League (IPL) where the teams will release the list of retention from the Gabba triumph, Rajasthan Royals have released their skipper Steve Smith ahead of IPL 2021. The axe comes after Smith lacked to hit the strides in the last season of the cash-rich league in the UAE.
Meanwhile, the discussion has heated up after Smith’s off-form with the bat in IPL 2020 in the UAE. Steve Smith played all the 14 league matches, scoring 311 runs at a strike rate of 131, including three half-centuries. Rajasthan finished last in the eight-team tournament, and Smith’s impact as a leader and a batsman came under the scanner after IPL 2020.
Rajasthan Royals release Steve Smith
Ahead of the 2018 IPL, Smith was the only player retained by the Royals for INR 12.5 crore (about USD 1.953 million then). In 2018 the Royals started afresh returning from a two-year suspension and appointed Smith as the captain. However, Steve Smith stepped down from the position in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa ahead of the IPL.
But in 2019, after a faltering start to the IPL campaign, the franchise handed the captaincy back to Smith saying it was looking for a “fresh approach” while sacking Ajinkya Rahane, who had led the franchise to the playoffs in 2018.
However, after blowing hot and cold in the UAE, Rajasthan Royals have released Steve Smith. The winner of the inaugural edition of the IPL are looking at an Indian skipper mainly Sanju Samson, who has been an ardent service-provider for the franchise over the years.
Forever a Royal…????
— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) January 20, 2021
As a result, Steve Smith will go under the hammer during the mini-auction ahead of IPL 2021. Franchises like Chennai Super Kings, who will look to revamp their squad might show some interest in roping the former Australian skipper.