IPL: Rajasthan Royals retains Steve Smith

Indian Premier League outfit Rajasthan Royals has retained Australia batsman Steve Smith for the upcoming edition.

Steve Smith is among the 16 players retained by the Rajasthan Royals ahead of the IPL auctions.   -  PTI

Cricket Australia may still not have made up its mind on whether to reduce the duration Steven Smith and David Warner's bans, but Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise, Rajasthan Royals, has decided to retain Smith for the next year’s tournament.

The franchise has retained 16 of its players, including Ajinkya Rahane, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler. The likes of Sanju Samson, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer and Shreyas Gopal, who performed well last season, have been retained.

Last year, Smith, who was originally named the captain, missed out after he was suspended for a year for his involvement in the ball-tampering saga.

That had forced Royals to bring in South African Heinrich Klaasen. The franchise has now released Klaasen and brought back Smith.  The Aussie's ban will end by the time the IPL begins and he is, anyway, allowed to play in franchise leagues.

The franchise has also released Jaydev Unadkat. Royals sprang in a surprise last season by snapping up Saurashtra pacer, Unadkat, for a whopping Rs 11.5 crore. Unadkat, however, had a average outing on the field as he picked up just nine wickets in the tournament.

Along with Unadkat, the side has released Australian batsman D’Arcy Short, pacer Ben Laughlin and South African wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen.

Besides this, the South African bowler Dane Paterson, chinaman Zahir Khan and Sri Lankan pacer Dushmantha Chameera have also been released. 

“We are extremely satisfied with the team we built in 2018 and hence we will be retaining the majority of the players. We have a terrific atmosphere in and around the squad and it was a pleasure to be a part of this during all my visits last season,” Royals’ lead owner, Manoj Badale, said.

“We believe we have the quality in this current team to have another successful tournament. However, there are always areas that can be strengthened, which is what we will be looking to do in the auction,” he added.

“Smith is an exceptionally talented batsman, who has a huge amount of experience in the IPL. He is really excited to be back performing on the biggest stage in T20 cricket and we are extremely pleased to have him in our side,” Rajasthan Royals’ head of cricket, Zubin Bharucha, said.

On Unadkat’s release, Bharucha said: “JD was brilliant to have as part of the Royals last season and it was a really hard decision to release him. However, when reviewing his contributions to the team, we felt there was too much pressure on him to deliver vis a vis his auction price and hence we thought it would be better to release him.”

 

Full list of retained Indian players:

  1. Ajinkya Rahane

  2. Krishnappa Gowtham

  3. Sanju Samson

  4. Shreyas Gopal

  5. Aryaman Birla

  6. S. Midhun

  7. Prashant Chopra

  8. Stuart Binny

  9. Rahul Tripathi

  10. Dhawal Kulkarni

  11. Mahipal Lomror

Retained International players:

  1. Jos Buttler

  2. Ben Stokes

  3. Steve Smith

  4. Jofra Archer

  5. Ish Sodhi