IPL 2021: Rajasthan Royals release Steve Smith; appoint Sanju Samson as captain

  • Sanju Samson to lead Rajasthan Royals in the 2021 IPL.

  • RR won the inaugural title in 2008 but have failed to make it to the finals since then.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Rajasthan Royals (RR) has finally released Australian superstar Steve Smith from their squad ahead of the 2021 auction. After his removal, Sanju Samson has been named captain of the side.

“His [Smith] 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,” an RR official told Star Sports India.

Smith, who took charge from Ajinkya Rahane in the middle of the 2019 IPL edition, failed to live up to the expectations of fans and the Rajasthan-based franchise and scored just 311 runs from 14 games in the last season as the inaugural season winner finished eighth.

On the other hand, Samson was Royals’ top performer with the bat as he scored 375 runs from 14 innings at an average of 28.84. The young wicketkeeper-batsman struck three half-centuries with a high score of 85.

With the ball, Jofra Archer was their leading star, taking 20 wickets from 14 matches at 18.25. His best figures in a match were 3/19 and was also chosen as the most valuable player of the season.

Here’s the full list of retained and released players list of Rajasthan Royals:

Released players:

Steve Smith, Ankit Rajpoot, Oshane Thomas, Akash Singh, Varun Aaron, Tom Curran, Anirudha Joshi, Shashank Singh

Retained players:

Sanju Samson (c), Manan Vohra, David Miller, Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Robin Uthappa, Anuj Rawat, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tewatia, Mahipal Lomror, Riyan Parag, Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat, Karik Tyagi, Shreyas Gopal, Mayank Markande, Andrew Tye.