IPL 2021 retention: Rajasthan Royals releases Steve Smith; Sanju Samson to lead the team

IPL 2021: With Steve Smith released, the franchise has now roped in Sanju Samson as the new captain.

Steve Smith's Rajasthan Royals failed to fire as an unit and failed to make to the playoffs.   -  IPL

Indian Premier League franchise Rajasthan Royals has finally decided to release Australian star Steve Smith ahead of the 2021 auction.  In his absence, Sanju Samson will lead the side.

Highly-placed sources in the team have confirmed to Sportstar that the decision has been taken after much deliberation. And with Smith released, the franchise is now looking at an Indian cricketer as its captain. "His contract expired in 2020 and we have decided not to renew it. Steve has had a huge contribution but we had to take a call after much deliberation," the official said. 

READ: Who will be released and who will be retained?

Smith - who took charge from Ajinkya Rahane in the middle of the season in 2019 - has failed to live up to his expectations and scored just 311 runs from 14 games in the last season as the franchise finished eighth.

There were speculations that the franchise could part ways with its head coach Andrew McDonald, but this publication understands that the Australian will continue as the head coach.