IPL 2019: Rajasthan Royals remove Rahane, appoint Smith as Captain

Steve Smith Ajinkya Rahane
New Delhi, April 20: Placed seventh on the points table in the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League, Rajasthan Royals (RR) on Saturday sacked Ajinkya Rahane as the captain of the team.

RR handed the captain’s armband to former Australian skipper Steve Smith as the team has managed to win just two games of the eight that they have played so far. The management believes that bringing him back at the helm might change their fortune.

Smith will lead Rajasthan Royals for the remainder of the season.

Rahane’s removal as the captain doesn’t come as a surprise as RR have struggled to get going under his leadership. But the choice of Smith as the skipper is controversial after he was banned from captaining the international side for one year after ball-tampering ban.

“There is nothing personal against anyone and it is a purely tactical call that is being looked at to change the fortune of the team,” news agency IANS quoted the Rajasthan Royals official as saying.

The Royals have lost 6 out of 8 matches in the IPL so far and their place in the IPL playoffs is under major jeopardy. Now they are all set to play Mumbai Indians on Saturday in the 4pm game.

Interestingly, while it is being said that it is a decision keeping the team’s interest in mind, if one looks at the performance of Smith and Ajinkya Rahane in this edition of the IPL, the Indian batsman is clearly ahead, be it runs or the strike-rate. Smith on the other hand has found the going tough as he returns from the elbow injury.

While Rahane has scored 201 runs in eight games at a strike-rate of 133.11, Smith has managed to score 186 runs on seven games at a strike-rate of 107.51.

In fact, while banning both Smith and David Warner from the IPL last season, the BCCI had cited the order of Cricket Australia which said that the duo wouldn’t be allowed to play for 12 months for their country or state teams. They were free to play club cricket.

While the BCCI followed this, they seem to have missed the fact that Smith was also banned from captaincy for a period of 24 months for his involvement in the Sandpaper Gate fiasco. Surprising then that the BCCI and franchises have forgotten this part of the punishment handed to the Australian.

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