Steve Smith on Monday stepped down as the captain of Rajasthan Royals. The Australia skipper, who is under fire over his involvement in the ball-tampering episode, has informed Rajasthan Royals executive chairman, Ranjit Barthakur, about his decision.

India batsman Ajinkya Rahane will replace Smith at the helm for the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

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"We are delighted to appoint Rahane as the captain of Rajasthan Royals. He will replace Steve Smith with immediate effect,” Barthakur told Sportstar.

“Rajasthan Royals will do everything to protect the values and integrity. We agree with Smith’s decision to step down as captain and we are fortunate to have such a successful successor in Rahane.

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“What happened in South Africa was wrong but it is difficult time for Steve Smith as well, given how much he cares for the team,” he added.

Royals’ head of cricket, Zubin Bharucha, said that the franchise "has been in constant touch with the BCCI and taken their counsel. Furthermore, we have been in regular contact with Steve. The incident in Cape Town has certainly disturbed the cricketing world.

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“Steve believes given the current circumstances, it’s in the best interest of the Rajasthan Royals that he steps down as captain so the team can get ready for the start of the IPL without the ongoing distractions."

With Smith stepping down, Royals would be hoping to get the house in order quickly, under the leadership of its old warhorse, Rahane.