Steve Smith in action for Rajasthan Royals(IPL)
Steve Smith in action for Rajasthan Royals(IPL)

Rajasthan Royals release skipper Steve Smith ahead of auctions

Under Smith's captaincy, the inaugural edition champions RR finished last in the last IPL in the UAE, where the star Australian batsman played all the 14 league matches and scored 311 runs.
By Rasesh Mandani
UPDATED ON JAN 20, 2021 11:12 PM IST

Rajasthan Royals skipper Steve Smith is the biggest name to be released ahead of IPL’s mini-auction next month, as franchises fine-tune the squads for the 2021 tournament. The decision has been prompted by Royals ending last in the 2020 edition held in the UAE and Smith’s below par showing with the bat. Hard-hitting batsman Sanju Samson has been named skipper and Kumar Sangakkara director of cricket.

Chennai Super Kings, despite an ordinary season with an ageing side, haven’t gone in for wholesale changes. Some of those released are past their prime - Piyush Chawla, Kedar Jadhav, Murali Vijay and Harbhajan Singh. Other senior pros - Imran Tahir, Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo and Suresh Raina will all continue under MS Dhoni’s leadership.

The busiest team at the auction could be Kings X1 Punjab. They have released nine players, and will have a purse of R53.2 crore. KXIP have released perennial IPL under-performer Glenn Maxwell and Afghanistan mystery spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman.

Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals too are expected to be high spenders at the auction, having released 10 and eight players respectively. RCB have R35.7 crore while RR have R34.85 crore in their kitty. Australian limited overs captain Aaron Finch, Umesh Yadav, all-rounders Shivam Dube, Moeen Ali, Isuru Udana and Chris Morris have all been released.

Champions Mumbai Indians, without disturbing their core, have released seven players, including overseas fast bowlers Mitchell McClenaghan, James Pattinson, Lasith Malinga and Nathan Coulter-Nile. They have R15.35 crore left and the bulk of it could be spent to find a new support cast for Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult.

Delhi Capitals have released six players including standby wicket-keeper Alex Carey. They have 12.8 crore to play with. Kolkata Knight Riders, who narrowly missed the playoffs, have released only five players, like Sunrisers Hyderabad.

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