IPL 2021 Auction: Rajasthan Royals likely to release Steve Smith: As we inch closer to the date, Rajasthan Royals are considering the release of their skipper, Steve Smith. A final call on the matter will be taken shortly, before the team hands over the final list of their retained players. A deadline of January 21 has been given to the eight participating teams to submit the names of their retained and released players
Why Rajasthan Royals is likely to release Steve Smith? Smith’s average run of form during the 2020 IPL season is one of the main reasons behind the franchise thinking of offloading him. Smith was far from his best in IPL 2020. The Aussie ace played all 14 matches scoring 311 runs at a strike rate of 131 but could not make much of an impact in the campaign.
According to a report by Cricinfo, Smith also failed to make a difference as a leader which was discussed at length during the season review conducted by the Royals.
It is believed that the management wanted the team to be more consistent while trying to qualify for the playoffs. After winning the inaugural season in 2008, the Royals have managed to qualify for the playoffs only three more times in 2013, 2015, and 2018.
Smith had changed his batting position more than once in the previous IPL campaign but failed to find his touch. He started as an opener but finally moved down to the middle order.
Smith was appointed as the Rajasthan skipper in 2018 when the team returned after serving a two-year ban. However, the Aussie stepped down from captaincy in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa ahead of the IPL. However, in 2019, Smith was given the role of a captain once again in what was considered to be a ‘fresh approach’.
Who will captain Rajasthan Royals after Steve Smith is released ? The Royals will have to decide on a new skipper if Smith is released. Sanju Samson, who was one of the team’s best batsmen in the 13th edition of the league, seems to be the frontrunner in this case. Though both Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes are more experienced than Samson, it is believed that the Rajasthan Royals management is not keen on the English pair taking charge as a captain.