Steven Smith © Getty Images
Steven Smith © Getty Images

Rajasthan Royals (RR) have appointed Ajinkya Rahane as their captain after Steven Smith stepped down following the ball-tampering row. Rahane will now lead RR in the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) season. Smith has been embroiled in a shocking ball-tampering scandal along with Cameron Bancroft and other members of the leadership group during the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town. Smith and Bancroft admitted the shameful act in the press conference after the Day three’s play. Soon after, Smith as well as David Warner stepped down as captain and vice-captain for the remainder of the third Test.

RR’s press release stated: “Steven 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.”

On appointment of Rahane as captain, co-owner Manoj Badale said: “The game is bigger than any individual and we hold this thought close to our heart.”

Smith was appointed RR’s captain in 2014. Under Smith, RR have won 6 and lost 2 games. Following the ban of RR, Smith was appointed as the captain of Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS). He had guided RPS to the final of IPL 10. Out of the 15 RPS matches, Smith won 10 and lost 5.

As for the new RR skipper, Rahane has captained only once in IPL for RPS, albeit for a losing cause. Rahane has also captained India previously during the fourth Test against Australia, in absence of Virat Kohli. He became the 33rd Test captain then. Rahane has also captained India in ODIs and T20Is against Zimbabwe in 2015 when a second string squad was selected. India won that ODI series 3–0.