IPL 2018: Rajasthan Royals announce Steven Smith as captain
Rajasthan Royals have announced Steven Smith as their captain for the eleventh edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The captain was announced in a unique live telecast held on 24th February, with the Kolkata Knight Riders also set to announce their skipper for IPL 2018 on March 4.
Along with the Chennai Super Kings, the Royals return to the IPL after a two-year hiatus, having missed out on the 2016 and 2017 editions owing to suspension based on the betting scandal that rocked the tournament in 2015.
The Royals were a busy team during the auctions held last month, acquiring the two most expensive players, Ben Stokes and Jaydev Unadkat, in the bidding process.
Earlier, the Royals, who acquired their first-ever captain Shane Warne as the mentor for this season, spoke about having multiple captaincy options on their roster.
“A captain is instrumental to create a culture within the team. We indeed have some great choices - the likes of Ben Stokes, Ajinkya Rahane and Steve Smith who bring leadership values with them. Jos Buttler too has capabilities to lead a team.”
Smith returns to the squad after having spent the last two years at Rising Pune Supergiant, the interim franchise that filled in for the Royals and the Super Kings for the previous two seasons, along with the now-defunct Gujarat Lions.
The side also starts would-be IPL debutants Jofra Archer and D'Arcy Short, whose claim to fame was the Big Bash earlier this year.
However, with Smith occupying one of the 'overseas' slots. it'll be difficult for Short to enter the playing XI, with Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Archer giving him tough competition.
Smith appeared on live chat from South Africa, where he is currently preparing with his side for the Test series that begins on March 1.
Here's the Rajasthan Royals' full squad:
Ben Stokes, Jaydev Unadkat, Sanju Samson, Jofra Archer, K Gowtham, Jos Buttler, Rahul Tripathi, D'Arcy Short, Ajinkya Rahane, Dhawal Kulkarni, Zahir Khan, Ben Laughlin, Stuart Binny, Dushmantha Chameera, Anureet Singh, Aryaman Vikram Birla, Midhun S, Shreyas Gopal, Prashant Chopra, Jatin Saxena, Ankit Sharma, Mahipal Lomror.