Rajasthan Royals (RR) team management has appointed Ajinkya Rahane as their skipper after Steven Smith stepped down following the ball-tampering row. Rahane will now lead RR in the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) season.
Smith has been entangled in a shocking ball-tampering disgrace along with the youngster Cameron Bancroft and other members of the leadership group during the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town. Smith and Bancroft acknowledged the shameful act in the press conference after the end of Day three’s play. Soon after, Smith, as well as David Warner, stepped down as captain and vice-captain for the remainder of the third Test.
Zubin Bharuchia, Royals’ head of cricket said, “The incident in Cape Town has certainly disturbed the cricketing world. We have been in constant touch with the BCCI and taken their counsel. Furthermore, we have been in regular contact with Steve. Ajinkya Rahane has been an integral part of the Royals family for a long time now and he understands the culture and values of our team. We have absolutely no doubt that he will be a great leader of the Rajasthan Royals.”
While, RR’s executive chairman, Ranjit Barthakur said, “Ajinkya Rahane has stepped up as a leader whenever he has been given the opportunity, be it for Team India or at Rajasthan Royals. We consider him the right candidate to lead the side this crucial season when the team is coming back to the IPL after two years. We wish him all the best.”
Also read: Rajasthan Royals Decides To Sack Steve Smith
RR’s press release stated: “Steven believes given the current circumstances it’s in the best interest of the Rajasthan Royals that he steps down as captain so the team can get ready for the start of the IPL without the ongoing distractions.”
On the appointment of Rahane as skipper, co-owner Manoj Badale said: “The game is bigger than any individual and we hold this thought close to our heart.”
Smith was appointed RR’s skipper in 2014. Under Smith, RR has won 6 and lost 2 games. Following the ban on RR, Smith was appointed as the captain of Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) in 2017. He had guided RPS to the final of IPL 10. Out of the 15 RPS matches, Smith won 10 and lost 5.
As for the new RR skipper, Rahane has captained only once in IPL for RPS, which resulting cause for the team. Rahane has also captained India previously during the fourth Test against Australia, in absence of Virat Kohli. He became the 33rd Test skipper then. He has also captained India in ODIs and T20Is against Zimbabwe in 2015 when a second string squad was selected. India won that ODI series 3–0.