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Smith steps down as RR captain, Rahane to lead

Zubin Bharucha, Royals’ head of cricket, confirmed the news via a media release on Monday (March 26). Steven Smith, the Australian skipper, has stepped down as captain of Rajasthan Royals for the upcoming 2018 IPL season, in the wake of his statement to deliberate ball-tampering in the third Test played between Australia and South Africa in Newlands.

Ajinkya Rahane, the India batsman, will now take over the mantle of leading the side.

Smith admitted to his role in the episode after the third day’s play in Newlands and as a result, he stood down as the skipper for the rest of the Test and was then handed out a one-Test ban by the ICC. But the repercussions as expected seem to be never-ending, with Smith stepping down from his position as the captain of Royals’ franchise.

“The incident in Cape Town has certainly disturbed the cricketing world. We have been in constant touch with the BCCI and taken their counsel. Furthermore, we have been in regular contact with Steve,” Bharucha said.

Bharucha also stated that it was Smith’s decision to step down from the position “in the best interest of the Rajasthan Royals” and ensure that “the team can get ready for the start of the IPL without the ongoing distractions.”

Royals’ head of cricket also pointed out that they had a willingly available captaincy choice in Rahane, who has been with the franchise for a long period. The veteran was chosen up by the Royals in January 2011 under the uncapped basket. Since then, he has been a prolific run-getter for the franchise.

“Ajinkya Rahane has been an integral part of the Royals family for a long time now and he understands the culture and values of our team. We have absolutely no doubt that he will be a great leader of the Rajasthan Royals,” Bharucha noted.

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