Ajinkya Rahane to lead Rajasthan Royals as Steve Smith steps down from captaincy

Updated on: Mar 26, 2018 3:59 pm IST

Ajinkya Rahane

Australian batsman Steve Smith has stepped down as the skipper of Rajasthan Royals.

Ajinkya Rahane would be replacing Steve Smith as skipper in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League.

The news was confirmed by Zabin Barucha, Head of Cricket operations of the franchise.

Smith had earlier stepped down as the skipper of Australia following the ball-tampering scandal also involving Cameron Bancroft.

Rajasthan Royals are making a comeback in the tournament after serving a suspension of two years. The franchise used Right-to-match card to retain India’s Test vice captain Ajinkya Rahane in the auctions held in January.

The previous day, Rajasthan Royals said in an official statement that they were waiting for further instructions from BCCI.

“We are aware of the ball-tampering incident in the ongoing series between Australia and South Africa and we are waiting for the BCCI’s instructions, before making any announcement,” Ranjit Barthakur, Executive Chairman of Rajasthan Royals said.

“Rajasthan Royals would not tolerate any unfair action that might bring disrepute to the team or game of cricket,” he added.

Also Read: Steve Smith’s IPL contract under dark clouds

“We agree with Steve Smith’s decision to step down from his role, and we are privileged to have Ajinkya Rahane. Retaining a balanced perspective on the situation is most important.”

“The incident in Cape Town has certainly disturbed the cricket world. We have been in constant touch with the BCCI and taken their counsel. Furthermore, we have been in regular contact with Steve,” added Zabin Barucha.

Smith and Australian found themselves at the centre of a massive ball-tampering scandal after the former admitted to the leadership group being in complete sync with the proceedings that ensued in the Afternoon session of the Newlands Test.

The official statement released by Rajasthan Royals stated that Smith believes that in the current circumstances, stepping down as the captain of the Rajasthan Royals would be in the best interest of the team so that they can get ready for IPL without ongoing distractions.

Steve Smith led Rising Pune Supergiant to the final in the tenth edition of IPL and he was the only player to be retained by the franchise of Rajasthan Royals this year.

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