Steve Smith stepped down as the captain of IPL team Rajasthan Royals (RR) ‘so the team can get ready for the start of the IPL without the ongoing distractions’, the franchise confirmed on Monday.
Ajinkya Rahane will replace Smith as captain for IPL 2018, which starts from April 7. With 2333 runs in 72 innings, Rahane is the second most successful batsman for the Jaipur-based franchise after Shane Watson (2474). At this year’s IPL player auction, the 29-year-old was purchased by Royals for Rs 4 crore via one of their Right-to-Match cards.
“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,” said Zubin Bharucha, RR’s head of cricket.
“Rajasthan Royals will do everything possible to protect the values and the integrity of the game. We agree with Steve’s decision to step down as captain, and we are fortunate to have such a capable successor with Ajinkya Rahane. It is important that all cricket fans retain a balanced perspective on the situation. What happened in South Africa was clearly wrong, especially given that it appears to have been pre-meditated. That said, this will be a difficult time for Steve as well, given how much he cares about the game.” said Manoj Badale, the co-owner of Rajasthan Royals.