Wednesday, 23 October, 2019

IPL 2018: Ajinkya Rahane could replace Steve Smith as Rajasthan Royals captain

Royals to consult BCCI before making Smith decision Royals to consult BCCI before making Smith decision
Shannon Reynolds | 26 March, 2018, 07:21

Australian cricket board's Head of Integrity Iain Roy and team performance manager Pat Howard travelled to South Africa to begin interviews with Smith, Warner, Cameron Bancroft and coach Darren Lehmann as part of an investigation into the cheating scandal.

Rajasthan Royals are likely to sack Steven Smith as the captain of the team ahead of IPL 2018. We will not tolerate any actions that are unfair by definition and bring disrepute to cricket. Our Zero tolerance policy applies to everyone in our team. When contacted, Ranjit Barthakur, executive chairman of the franchise, did not deny this saying, "No comments".

Smith re-joined Royals for this year's competition having previously played for them between 2014-15, with the side having paid $1.07 million for his services. Considering Warne was super critical of the Australian team while on air, it may not be a surprise if they decide to strip Smith of captaincy.

The BCCI and IPL played the waiting game as Steve Smith received sanctions from the ICC for masterminding a premeditated plan to indulge in ball tampering, which, among others, prompted even Australia's prime minister to react and a long-retired captain to mull a comeback.

Meanwhile, while Smith was banned for a match, opener Bancroft was fined 75 percent of his match fee and handed three demerit points for breaching Level 2 of the ICC Code of Conduct. Those teams will have to take a hard call as game is bigger than the players.

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There is no doubt about Stokes' prowess as a player and though it might be a decision that may raise a lot of eyebrows, the Royals will be tempted to take the bold decision of giving the captaincy to Stokes. Smith is an important player for Royals and their skipper. "It's only fair that they wait". That decision will have to be made jointly with the IPL governing council.

When quizzed whether he would assume the captaincy again if asked, Smith said: "If I was asked by the right people, then I would think about my answer".

Rahane was one of Royals' premier performer before they were banned for two years in the wake of the 2013 spot-fixing scandal.

Of course, a question which must be troubling the Royals is whether the IPL will allow Smith to be replaced despite him not being injured.

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