Steve Smith Steps Down as Rajasthan Royals Captain, Rahane to Lead
Under fire Australian cricketer Steve Smith has stepped down from his position of the captain of the Rajasthan Royals team. He will be replaced by Indian opener Ajinkya Rahane. The Indian Premier League franchise, which is making a comeback in the league after serving a two-year ban, confirmed the news in a statement on Monday.
Rajasthan Royals’ Head of Cricket, Zubin Bharucha 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.”
Steve 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.” He would like to extend his gratitude to the BCCI officials and all the fans in India for their constant support.
Speaking at the announcement of the new captain, Bharucha added, “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.”
“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.
Rajasthan Royals will launch their season with an away fixture against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Monday, April 9th followed by their first home game in Jaipur on Wednesday, April 11th where they will host Delhi Daredevils at Sawai Mansingh stadium.
Welcoming Rahane as the Captain of the team, Ranjit Barthakur, Executive Chairman, Rajasthan Royals, 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.”(Agencies)