IPL 2019: Steve Smith replaces Ajinkya Rahane as Rajasthan Royals skipper

With Rajasthan Royals struggling in the tournament, the management decided to elevate Smith as the skipper in a bid to make ‘a fresh approach’ and bring its campaign back on track.

Steve Smith has so far had an average run with the bat in the ongoing IPL season.   -  IPL

In a major development, Rajasthan Royals named Australian batsman Steven Smith as skipper for the upcoming matches of the Indian Premier League.

With the Royals struggling in the tournament, the Royals management decided to elevate Smith as the skipper in a bid to make ‘a fresh approach’ and bring its campaign back on track.

The franchise maintained that Smith has always been part of the leadership team within Royals and Rahane will continue to be a key voice in the side.

Zubin Bharucha, Head of Cricket for Rajasthan Royals, said, “Ajinkya is and will always be a true Royal. He led the team to the play offs in 2018 in a very challenging scenario and that will go down as one of the great comebacks of the IPL. He remains a key part of our side and leadership team and will extend support wherever required to Steve.

“Steve is one of the most innovative and successful captains in the world, in all formats of the game. We are confident he can lead the Royals to success,” added Bharucha.

After reaching the play-offs last year, Rajasthan Royals failed to impress this season, losing six of its eight games so far and keeping that in mind, the franchise has decided to bring about a change in leadership.

Last year, Royals had named Smith as the skipper but with him getting suspended for ball-tampering, Rahane was named as his replacement.

While Australia's training camp for the World Cup starts from May 2, the franchise is hopeful that Smith would be available till the last league fixture. However, there is no confirmation yet.