Wednesday January 19, 2022

Royals release Steve Smith ahead of IPL auctions

January 21, 2021

NEW DELHI: Steve Smith has not been retained by his Indian Premier League side Rajasthan Royals, the team said Wednesday, in a double blow for the Australian after his national squad’s Test loss to India.

The Royals have kept their England stars including Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer in their team ahead of this year’s auctions next month.

Smith captained the team that finished as wooden spooners in the eight-team league in last year’s edition, which was held behind closed doors in the United Arab Emirates due to the coronavirus.

India’s Sanju Samson was appointed captain of the side which won the inaugural edition in 2008 under Australian spin legend Shane Warne.

“The Rajasthan Royals captaincy is a post for which we are lucky to have had so many greats of the game — Warne, Dravid, Watson, Rahane, and most recently Steve Smith,” said team owner Manoj Badale.

“Steve has been a great player and great leader for the Royals, and we want to thank him for his contribution to the franchise.”

The star batsman, who played 14 matches in IPL 2020 scoring 311 runs, contributed with a century and two fifties for Australia in the recent series won by India 2-1.

Meanwhile Australia’s Marcus Stoinis will stay on for his franchise Delhi Capitals along with South African quick Kagiso Rabada.

The IPL — the world’s wealthiest cricket tournament which attracts top stars from around the globe -- is expected to be played at home in late March.