Rajasthan Royals (RR) who finished last in the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) have gone for some bold moves and big changes ahead of the 2021 edition. They have released their skipper Steve Smith who struggled to come good with the bat as well as with his captaincy during the season. In his place, they’ve announced Indian batting star, Sanju Samson as skipper.
They have also appointed Sri Lankan cricketing legend, Kumar Sangakkara as Director of Cricket, a post that they didn’t have previously. With the experienced Sangakkara at the helm and a young and exciting captain in Samson, RR would look for a turnaround in their fortunes in the next season.
‘Sanju is at the start of his journey as a leader’
Co-owner of RR, Manoj Badale confirmed to the press today that Steve Smith has been released and that Sanju Samson and Kumar Sangakkara have been appointed. Speaking about Samson, he said, “Sanju is at the start of his journey as a leader – and Kumar Sangakkara is joining as a director of cricket. He’s understated and is a very, very strong individual. [Being a] Wicketkeeper is a great position to captain the team.”
It is noteworthy that Samson captained Kerala in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and led his side from the front to notch up 3 victories out of 5 matches. However, the team fell short of qualifying for the quarter-finals on net run-rate. The young Indian international star will hope to lead the side into a new era of consistent performances to shed their tag as underachievers ever since their win in the inaugural edition of the IPL.
The full list of retained players are as follows: Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Rahul Tewatia, JD Unadkat, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Robin Uthappa, Mayank Markhande, Kartik Tyagi, AJ Tye, Anuj Rawat, David Miller, Riyan Parag, Mahipal Lomror, Shreyas Gopal and Manan Vohra.
Tom Curran, Ankit Rajpoot, Oshane Thomas, Akash Singh, Varun Aaron, Anirudha Joshi and Shashank Singh have been released along with Steve Smith.