Questions were raised over the future of Steve Smith after Rajasthan Royals finished at the bottom of the table in the Indian Premier League last year.
And ahead of the 2021 edition, the Rajasthan Royals franchise released the Australian superstar – who was the captain of the team last season – and handed over the responsibility to Sanju Samson, another loyal Royal.
“As the IPL has grown, the captaincy has become a year-round task, and as such strong local Indian leadership has become increasingly important. Sanju made his debut as a Royal, and it has been a joy to watch his development over the last eight years. He is the ideal person to lead the Royals into the 2021 season,” Royals’ lead owner Manoj Badale said.
“His (Smith’s) contribution on the field, and his contribution off the field, especially towards the development of some of our young players, both as a captain and mentor has been immense.”
The Royals – which won the only title in 2008 – released eight players, while retaining a 17-member core, and Badale was happy with the list.
“We’ve got a talented group that under-performed overall last season and will be wanting to correct that. It is a well balanced squad and we are excited for the season ahead,” the lead owner said.
In an important addition, Royals have roped in Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara as the director of cricket.