Steve Smith was embroiled in controversy yet again after he was caught scruffing the crease to erase the batting mark of Rishabh Pant. The act might have cost Smith a spot with the Rajasthan Royals next IPL as the franchise are not too keen on retaining their current captain.
With the IPL auction set to be held soon, the franchises are expected to send in the list of their retained players by January 20. As things stand, Rajasthan Royals’ list will not contain the name of Steve Smith with the franchise looking to move on from the player.
Steve Smith joined the Royals camp in 2014 for the seventh season and moved onto the Rising Pune Supergiants when the inaugural IPL champions were handed a two-year ban from the competition. After the new franchise finished seventh in their maiden campaign, the test player of the decade was handed the captaincy. He proceeded to lead the side to the final, before losing to Mumbai Indians by one run.
After also having led Rajasthan Royals in 2015, he was once again appointed as captain in the 2019 edition of the IPL after missing out two editions of the competition due to his involvement in the ball-tampering saga.
The 31-year-old’s performances have been below par so far as he endured a poor season along with the entire team. Smith was only able to accumulate 311 runs at an average of just over 25 which saw the team finish last in the points table.
In a review conducted by the franchise, Smith’s leadership came under scrutiny apart from his batting display, which has prompted them to look for other options.
The team are prepared to axe the player completely out of the picture which leaves the leadership debate very much open. Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler are two experienced campaigners in the shortest format of the game, but the management are not keen on appointing an overseas captain which brings the focus onto Sanju Samson.
The wicket-keeper batsman was first roped in by the one-time champions in 2013, and once again in 2018 after being released earlier. While Samson lacks the experience of Stokes and Buttler, the side rates him very highly and is currently the frontrunner in the race to lead the team.
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