Mumbai: Steve Smith was announced as the captain of the Rajasthan Royals for the eleventh edition of the Indian Premier League. Royals mentor Shane Warne, Head of Cricket, Zubin Bharucha and team co-owner, Manoj Badale named Steve Smith as the captain of the side for this season.
With many world-class players in the squad, the choice of the leader was tough but the aim of Rajasthan Royals is to build a strong leadership team with the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith and Ben Stokes who can create a team that believes in the ability to play their respective roles and continue to strive towards a common goal.
Speaking at the appointment of Smith as the captain, Bharucha said, “We have some great players and cricketing minds in the team with proven leaders like Steve Smith and Ajinkya Rahane. We came to the conclusion that Steve Smith would be the ideal candidate for the job. Smith has been incredible as captain of Australia. He is someone who leads the team by example.”
Both Warne and Smith are shrewd cricketing brains and fans will be waiting to see the Australian combination casting a spell. Warne said the Royals will continue to play intense cricket. “We will play the Royals’ brand of cricket, that is, with spirit and aggression, with which we are known to play with. I am looking forward to exciting cricket and a successful campaign.”
Smith said he is looking forward to work with Warne. “It's great to be back with the Royals. It’s an honour and privilege to be leading Royals and looking forward to working with the King (Shane Warne).”
Smith had been part of the Rajasthan Royals team in 2014 and 2015. In fact, it was at Rajasthan Royals where he first stepped into the shoes of a leader and later took over as Australia captain as he flourished in the role.
Last season, Smith also led Rising Pune Supergiant from the front, guiding them to the final. Who could forget his innings in the final against Mumbai Indians, where Smith almost pulled off a successful chase with a brilliant knock but the team fell just short of one run. In 2017, Smith played 15 matches and scored 472 runs at an average of 39.33 while leading the side to runners-up finish.
Royals co-owner Manoj Badale adds that Smith has had a long association with the franchise and can help in the development of the team and the franchise for a long time. “Smudge has been with the Royals in the past. He is a very passionate and influential player and we are excited to have him with us again. Taking the core of the Royals, and supplementing with new talent makes for an exciting squad.”
Rajasthan Royals will kick-off their season with an away fixture against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Monday, April 09, 2018 followed by a home game against Delhi Daredevils on April 11, 2018 at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.