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IPL 2019: Steve Smith reacts after being named Rajasthan Royals captain, explains Rahane’s role

Smith replaced Ajinkya Rahane as the captain of Rajasthan Royals moments before their crucial encounter against Mumbai Indians at Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Saturday.

cricket Updated: Apr 20, 2019 16:06 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Steve Smith,IPL 2019,Rajasthan Royals
Steve Smith replaced Ajinkya Rahane as the new captain of Rajasthan Royals for the remainder of IPL 2019(BCCI)

Reacting for the first time after being re-appointed as captain of Rajasthan Royals for the remainder of IPL 2019, former Australian skipper Steve Smith said he is hopeful of leading the side(RR) to the play-offs.

Smith replaced Ajinkya Rahane as the captain of Rajasthan Royals moments before their crucial encounter against Mumbai Indians at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur on Saturday.

“I have done a bit of leadership in the IPL with a bit of success, hopefully I can lead the team well. Plenty of games coming up in the next few days,” said Smith after winning the toss and opting to field first against Mumbai Indians.

Smith was also named captain before the start of the 2018 edition but in the wake of the ball-tampering incident, it was decided that Rahane would lead the team in the Australian’s forced absence.

Follow Updates of MIvsRR Match Here

Smith, interestingly was not a part of the Royals’ playing XI in their last match against Kings XI Punjab, which they lost. He replaced Ben Stokes, who left home for the birth of his child.

Asked on the role of Ajinkya Rahane, Smith said that India’s Test vice-captain would continue to be a part of the leadership group. “Ajinkya has done a terrific job in the last one and a half year and the team management thinks there was a need for a change and so I’m taking over. Ajinkya obviously, would continue to be a part of the leadership group,” said Smith.

The Royals’ management’s decision comes as a bit of a surprise because Smith himself is slated to leave towards the end of April or May 1 latest to attend Australia’s World Cup training camp beginning from May 2.

It would be interesting to see who leads Royals if they do manage to reach the play-offs. So far the Men in Pink are at No. 7 in the points table with just two wins in 8 matches.

When it comes to performance in IPL 2019, not much separates Smith and Rahane. Smith has made 186 runs in seven games at 37.20 with 73 being his highest. Rahane, on the other hand, has scored 201 runs at 25.12 including a top-score of 70.

First Published: Apr 20, 2019 15:59 IST