Rajasthan Royals has an Indian captain once again. Sanju Samson is only the third homegrown skipper for the team, after Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane.
He takes over from Steve Smith, one of the three Australians to have led Royals; Shane Warne and Shane Watson are the others. Smith is one of the eight players released on Wednesday by the franchise ahead of the 14th edition of the IPL.
Samson first played for Royals in 2013, and except for the two seasons that the team was banned for (when he moved to Delhi), he has been with the Jaipur-based franchise. In 2012, he was in the Kolkata Knight Riders squad, but didn’t play.
Samson, who was also reinstalled as the Kerala skipper for the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament recently, said it was an absolute honour to have been made the Royals captain. “It’s a team that is so close to my heart, which I’ve been lucky enough to play for over the years,” he said.
“I’m excited about the challenge that lies ahead of me as the leader of the team.”
He added that he was looking forward to the new IPL season. “The Royals have had some wonderful captains over the years and I’m so grateful for all the time I’ve spent working with and learning from the great leaders like Rahul Dravid, Shane Watson, Ajinkya Rahane and Steve Smith,” he said.
“I now cannot wait to get (the season) started.”