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Rajasthan Royals release Steve Smith, name Sanju Samson as skipper

Steve Smith (L) and Sanju Samson
Steve Smith (L) and Sanju Samson
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 20 Jan 2021
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Australia's star batsman Steve Smith has been released by the Rajasthan Royals (RR) ahead of the IPL 2021 season. The Royals have named Sanju Samson as their new captain.

The decision to release Steve Smith might have raised a few eyebrows as he had been a stalwart for the Rajasthan Royals for the past few years. However, he had a pretty poor IPL 2020 season by his lofty standards, scoring just 311 runs from 14 games at a modest average of 25.91.

Smith couldn't lead the Rajasthan Royals to the playoffs of IPL 2020 after they faced defeat in their last league game against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). Their failure to make it to the playoffs might have enticed the franchise to take a call about the 31-year-old's future at the club.

Another factor that could have influenced Smith's release was the availability of top quality foreign players. Established overseas players like Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, and Jofra Archer are confirmed starters in Rajasthan Royals' playing XI. Thus, Smith's presence as the captain restricted RR from choosing another foreign option.

Smith was bought by the Rajasthan Royals ahead of IPL 2014 and has played many memorable knocks for the franchise. He also captained the franchise since the second half of IPL 2015. Despite being banned for a year due to the ball-tampering scandal, Smith was reinstated as the skipper of RR in IPL 2019.

The franchise thanked the Australian for his contribution to the club and wished him all the best for his future endeavors. Smith's presence at the IPL 2021 auction is sure to start an incredible bidding war among teams.

Sanju Samson's leadership will be a breath of fresh air for Rajasthan Royals

Sanju Samson might relish the leadership role
Sanju Samson might relish the leadership role

As a prodigy, Sanju Samson had joined the Rajasthan Royals ahead of IPL 2013 and burst on to the scene with impressive performances. As the years passed, Samson learned a great deal under the mentorship of Rahul Dravid and grew in stature as a batsman.

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Inconsistency was the only concern for the youngster who had all the talent. However, after several seasons with the club, the 26-year-old made his debut for Team India in T20Is and played some useful cameos.

After showing flashes of brilliance in IPL 2020 season, Samson has convinced the Royals that he has what it takes to become a successful skipper for the franchise. Rajasthan Royals will be hopeful that with the added responsibility of captaincy, Samson takes his batting to the next level.

Other players released by the Rajasthan Royals include Ankit Rajpoot, Oshane Thomas, Akash Singh, Varun Aaron, Tom Curran, Anirudha Joshi, and Shashank Singh.

Published 20 Jan 2021, 19:11 IST
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