The veteran Australian batsman, Steve Smith found himself in the center of another controversy on Sunday after he was seen scuffing the pitch during Day 5 of the third Test between India and Australia in Sydney. Smith was recorded on camera trying to erase the batting guard of Indian batsman Rishabh Pant by rubbing his shoes on the pitch during a drinks break.
After the incident, Smith garnered a lot of criticism from fans and former cricketers on social media. While some termed his act ‘unsportsmanly’, some went on to label him a ‘cheat’ for his controversial antics. After garnering headlines for all the wrong reasons during the third Test, Steve Smith seems to have more bad news in store for him.
According to the latest reports of Sports Today, Smith is unlikely to be retained by Rajasthan Royals (RR) ahead of the new season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Smith, who led the IPL franchise, might be released by the franchise ahead of the player auction in February. The franchises have been asked to release the final list of the retained cricketers by January 20.
Smith was part of the Rajasthan Royals in the 2014 and 2015 seasons before the team suffering a ban for a couple of years from the IPL. The former Australian skipper was the only player retained by the 2008 champions ahead of the 2018 season. However, Ajinkya Rahane became the captain of the 2018 season after Smith was banned for two years for his role in the infamous ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
Steve Smith returned to the Royals’ side in 2019 and soon after that, he was named as the captain midway through the 2019 season. He captained Rajasthan Royals throughout the 2020 season which was staged in the UAE. However, Smith’s performances for his side were far from impressive in IPL 2020.
In 14 matches, Smith managed to amass only 311 runs at an average of over 25 and a strike rate of over 131 in IPL 2020. It remains to be seen who will Rajsthan Royals replace him as skipper if Smith is released by the one-time champions for the upcoming season.