Reports have emerged from ESPNCricinfo that Rajasthan Royals (RR) are ready to release their skipper Steve Smith into the auction pool ahead of the auction for the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The decision is said to have come after dissatisfaction with the team’s consistency and Smith’s leadership.
RR finished last in the 2020 edition of the IPL which was held in the UAE. After a good start to the tournament, the team started to struggle to notch up wins consistently. Their captain’s form was a huge concern as well. In the 14 matches that he played, Smith scored only 311 runs with 3 fifties, 2 of which came in the first two matches.
Sanju Samson frontrunner to take over
The reports have further stated that highly-rated batsman Sanju Samson is the frontrunner to take over the captaincy from Smith. The English pair of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes are also reportedly being considered but the Samson holds the edge due to the management wanting an Indian captain.
The mini-auction for the 2021 edition of the IPL is set to take place in mid-February before which teams are required to finalize the list of players they have retained. If the reports are true, Steve Smith won’t be one of the names in the list of retained players for RR.