With the Royals struggling in the ongoing IPL, the Rajasthan franchise have sacked Ajinkya Rahane as the captain. Steve Smith will lead the inaugural champions for the remainder of the tournament.
Under Rahane, Royals have managed to win just two of their eight matches so far and are languishing at the seventh spot in the points table. Their victories have come against fellow bottom-dwellers Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Mumbai Indians (MI).
“Steve has always been part of the leadership team within RR and Rahane will continue to be a key voice in the side, therefore the Royals see this as a small restructuring process to secure the results required to move up the table,” said the franchise in their statement.
Under Rahane, who was named captain last season after Smith was banned to play in IPL 2018 following his involvement in ball-tampering scandal, RR made the playoffs but have failed to replicate that performance this year.
“Ajinkya is and will always be a true Royal. He led the team to the play offs in 2018 in a very challenging scenario and that will go down as one of the great comebacks of the IPL. He remains a key part of our side and leadership team and will extend support wherever required to Steve,” Zubin Bharucha, Head of Cricket for Rajasthan Royals, said.
“Steve is one of the most innovative and successful captains in the world, in all formats of the game. We are confident he can lead the Royals to success,” he added.
However, Smith is expected to be available until May 1 but by then, the team would have played majority of their league games.
Also, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler would be leaving next week to join England’s World Cup camp.