IPL 2018: Steve Smith steps down as Rajasthan Royals captain amidst ball-tampering controversy; Ajinkya Rahane to lead

"Steve Steve believes given the current circumstances it's in the best interest of the Rajasthan Royals that he steps down as captain," said the Rajasthan Royals franchise.

AFP, Mar 26, 2018 17:19:58 IST

New Delhi: Indian Premier League side Rajasthan Royals on Monday replaced Australia's Steve Smith as captain over his role in a ball-tampering controversy.

Smith, who is on a $1.9-million contract with the Royals, will be replaced by India's Ajinkya Rahane as skipper for the new IPL season starting 7 April.

File image of Rajasthan Royals' Steve Smith. Image courtesy: BCCI

File image of Rajasthan Royals' Steve Smith. Image courtesy: BCCI

"Steve believes given the current circumstances it's in the best interest of the Rajasthan Royals that he steps down as captain so the team can get ready for the start of the IPL without the ongoing distractions," the franchise said.

Australia captain Smith, 28, was banned for one Test by the International Cricket Council after admitting that he and a group of his players planned ball-tampering during the third Test against South Africa.

"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 Steve," said Zubin Bharucha, Royals head of cricket.

Rajasthan Royals won the inaugural IPL 11 years ago under Shane Warne but this year are returning from a two-year ban for corruption, which increased pressure on the franchise for action over Smith.

"Rajasthan Royals will do everything possible to protect the values and the integrity of the game," said the team's co-owner Manoj Badale.

"We agree with Steve's decision to step down as captain, and we are fortunate to have such a capable successor with Ajinkya Rahane."

Badale added, "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."

Smith is a hugely popular player in India and last year featured for Rising Pune Supergiants alongside England's Ben Stokes, who is also with the Royals this year.

The controversy surrounding Smith exploded on day three of the Cape Town Test on Saturday, when Australia's Cameron Bancroft was caught using yellow tape to alter the condition of the ball before hiding it in his underwear.

Smith took full responsibility for Bancroft's actions, admitting the move was planned with the national team's "leadership group" and was "a big mistake".

Australia's senior opening batsman David Warner stepped down from the vice-captain's post over the scandal but escaped punishment by the ICC. A decision on Warner's role as skipper of IPL side Sunrisers Hyderabad is awaited.

Cricket Australia is also investigating the actions of Smith and his Australian teammates.

 

Updated Date: Mar 26, 2018 17:25:32 IST







Top Stories

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5007 116
2 South Africa 4280 110
3 New Zealand 3213 107
4 Australia 4566 104
5 England 5490 104
6 Sri Lanka 4256 89
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6918 126
2 India 8058 122
3 New Zealand 5798 112
4 South Africa 5545 111
5 Pakistan 4872 102
6 Australia 4290 100
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 5280 135
2 India 5590 124
3 South Africa 2960 118
4 England 2586 118
5 Australia 3266 117
6 New Zealand 3367 116