Smith steps down from Royals captaincy as ball tampering fall-out rumbles on

Australia captain Steve Smith has decided it is in the "best interest" of Rajasthan Royals for him to step down as skipper of the IPL side.

Australia captain Steve Smith   -  Getty Images

Steve Smith has relinquished his role as Rajasthan Royals captain amid the fall-out from Australia's ball-tampering scandal, with Ajinkya Rahane taking his place.

Australia skipper Smith received a one-match ban from the ICC after admitting he was "party to a decision" to tamper with the ball during the third Test with South Africa.

He and vice-captain David Warner stood down from their roles for the remainder of the Cape Town Test, Smith having revealed Australia's "leadership group" had devised a plan to manipulate the condition of the ball.

Cameron Bancroft, who was caught on camera rubbing the ball with yellow tape, received three demerit points as a result of his actions and was fined 75 per cent of his match fee.

And Smith has now taken the decision to vacate his position as captain of the Indian Premier League side.

Their head of cricket Zubin Bharucha said: "The incident in Cape Town has certainly disturbed the cricket world.

"We have been in constant touch with the BCCI [Board of Control for Cricket in India] and taken their counsel. Furthermore we have been in regular contact with Steve.

"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.

"He would like to extend his gratitude to the BCCI officials and all the fans in India for their constant support.

"Ajinkya Rahane has been an integral part of the Royals family for a long time now and he understands the culture and values of our team.

"We have absolutely no doubt that he will be a great leader of the Rajasthan Royals."

Rajasthan's co-owner Manoj Badale added: "Rajasthan Royals will do everything possible to protect the values and the integrity of the game. We agree with Steve's decision to step down as captain, and we are fortunate to have such a capable successor with Ajinkya Rahane.

"It is important that all cricket fans retain a balanced perspective on the situation. What happened in South Africa was clearly wrong, especially given that it appears to have been pre-meditated.

"That said, this will be a difficult time for Steve as well, given how much he cares about the game."

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