Rajasthan Royals names Steve Smith as skipper

Returning to the fold after a two-year suspension, Rajasthan Royals named Steven Smith as its skipper for the forthcoming Indian Premier League (IPL).

Steve Smith was the only player retained by Rajasthan Royals in the IPL auctions.   -  PTI

Returning to the fold after a two-year suspension, Rajasthan Royals named Steve Smith as its skipper for the forthcoming Indian Premier League (IPL).

In January, the franchise had only retained the Australia captain, making it evident that he would be the one leading the side.

On Saturday, the franchise announced the name of the skipper in a television show — which is also a first in the history of IPL — in presence of its co-owner Manoj Badale and mentor Shane Warne. Mohammad Kaif, Prashant Chopra and Sanju Samson too graced the event. "It’s great to be back with the Royals. It’s an honour and privilege to be leading Royals and looking forward to working with the King (Shane Warne)," Smith said.

Sportstar was first to report the development in January, when Badale had told this publication that Smith was set to lead the team in the eleventh edition of the tournament.

“Currently that is the plan (to make Smith the skipper), but you always need options,” Badale had said during a chat on the eve of the IPL auction last month.

While Smith will lead the side, it also has seasoned stars like Ajinkya Rahane and Ben Stokes. With Smith back as its skipper — he had also captained in 2015 — the 2008 champion side will be hoping to start the campaign with a bang. "I am excited about working with Smith. I am happy by the way he led the side," Warne said.