Reports: Rajasthan Royals set to release Steve Smith for IPL 2021

Smith's inefficiency, both as a leader and batsman came to the fore in a season review conducted by the Royals.

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Steve Smith
Steve Smith. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

Rajasthan Royals are set to release Steve Smith ahead of the Indian Premier League 2021 auction. The Royals are expected to come to a decision in a short while as the deadline for submitting the list of retained players is January 20. One of the major reasons behind RR not persisting with Smith is his topsy-turvy form in the previous edition where the team finished at the bottom of the table.

Smith started the tournament with a couple of fifties, taking his team to victories against Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. However, from there on, the Royals lost their way completely and so did Smith. The right-hander got quite a few scores in the single-digits and ended with 311 runs at an average and strike-rate of 25.91 and 131.22 respectively.

Steve Smith not performing to expectations for RR

As per reports in ESPNcricinfo, the franchise management asked the Royals to be more consistent in contention for the playoffs. His inefficiency, both as a leader and batsman came to the fore in a season review conducted by the Royals. In the previous edition of the IPL, the New South Wales-born Smith and Royals had a tough time while playing in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Ahead of the 2018 auction, the Royals retained Smith for a massive INR 12.5 crores, which translated to around USD 1.953 million back then. The team appointed him as the captain, but the right-hander stepped down after the infamous ball-tampering scandal at the Newlands in Cape Town. However, in 2019, Smith got back captaincy after Ajinkya Rahane was sacked.

If the Royals release Smith, they would be in a conundrum of selecting a new skipper. In that case, they could opt for Sanju Samson, who has been one of their impact players for the last few seasons. Samson recently led Kerala in their first match of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy.

The Royals started their IPL sojourn, winning back in 2008 under the leadership of former Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne. However, from there on, leave alone winning the championship, they have qualified for the playoffs only three times in 2013, 2015 and 2018.

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