IPL 2018: Ajinkya Rahane replaces disgraced Steve Smith as Rajasthan Royals captain | cricket | Hindustan Times
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IPL 2018: Ajinkya Rahane replaces disgraced Steve Smith as Rajasthan Royals captain

Steve Smith has stepped down from his role as captain of Indian Premier League side Rajasthan Royals after being embroiled in a ball-tampering scandal. Ajinkya Rahane is set to take over as skipper

cricket Updated: Mar 26, 2018 22:56 IST
HT Correspondent
Steve Smith (R) will be replaced by Ajinkya Rahane as captain of Rajasthan Royals for the IPL 2018 season.
Steve Smith (R) will be replaced by Ajinkya Rahane as captain of Rajasthan Royals for the IPL 2018 season.(IPL)

After admitting to ball-tampering during Australia’s loss to South Africa in the Cape Town Test, Steve Smith has stepped down from his position as captain of Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Rajasthan Royals. India batsman Ajinkya Rahane will be replacing the Aussie skipper in the role for the IPL 2018 season.

The development has taken place a couple of days after Smith and teammate Cameron Bancroft sensationally admitted to having tampered the ball on Day 3 of the third Test against the Proteas.

Zubin Bharucha, Head of Cricket, said, “The incident in Cape Town has certainly disturbed the cricket world. We have been in constant touch with the BCCI and taken their counsel. Furthermore we have been in regular contact with him.”

Smith believes given the current circumstances, “it’s in the best interest of Rajasthan Royals that he steps down as captain so the team can get ready for IPL without the ongoing distractions.”

“Rajasthan Royals will do everything possible to protect the values and the integrity of the game. We agree with Steve’s decision to step down as captain, and we are fortunate to have such a capable successor with Ajinkya Rahane. It is important that all cricket fans retain a balanced perspective on the situation. What happened in South Africa was clearly wrong, especially given that it appears to have been pre-meditated. That said, this will be a difficult time for Steve as well, given how much he cares about the game,” the franchise’s co-owner, Manoj Badale, stated in a press release on Monday.

At Cape Town, Australia lost the Test by 322 runs, but the match itself was overshadowed by the incident on Saturday, with Bancroft caught on cameras using a sticky tape in an attempt to shine the ball.

Steve Smith subsequently stepped down from the captain’s role for the remainder of the Test in Cape Town.

Steve Smith was also handed a one-match ban by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for his role in the ball-tampering incident, making him unavailable for the final Test of the series.

Rajasthan Royalshad earlier stated that it would await instructions from the Board of Control for Cricket in India before deciding on Smith’s future as captain of the team.

However, the IPL franchise confirmed the development a day after Australia’s defeat in Cape Town.

Rahane’s first match as Rajasthan Royals skipper will be in the side’s IPL 2018 opener against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Hyderabad on April 9.

On the other hand, Smith’s compatriot and spin great Shane Warne, who had led the side to the IPL 2008 title, will be the mentor of the team for the upcoming season.