[caption id="attachment_695709" align="aligncenter" width="628"]<a href="https://www.cricketcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Ajinkya-Rahane1.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-695709" alt="Ajinkya Rahane is likely to lead Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2018, according to reports (Image courtesy: IANS)" src="https://www.cricketcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Ajinkya-Rahane1.jpg" width="628" height="355" /></a> Ajinkya Rahane is likely to lead Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2018, according to reports (Image courtesy: IANS)[/caption] <p></p><p style="text-align: left;"><a href="https://www.cricketcountry.com/players/ajinkya-rahane" target="_blank">Ajinkya Rahane</a> is likely to lead IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals in case an under-fire <a href="https://www.cricketcountry.com/players/steven-smith" target="_blank">Steven Smith</a> loses captaincy after admitting to ball tampering during the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town.</p> <p></p>The ICC on Sunday handed Smith a one-Test suspension and docked his full match fees as per its code of conduct. <p></p> <p></p>The BCCI and Royals heaved a sigh of relief after Smith escaped with a mild punishment. <p></p> <p></p>[link-to-post url="https://www.cricketcountry.com/news/ipl-2018-we-will-wait-for-bccis-instructions-on-steven-smith-say-rajasthan-royals-695610"][/link-to-post] <p></p> <p></p>However, there is a school of thought in BCCI that if Smith himself decides to quit captaincy, Royals should be okay with it as they have a ready replacement in Rahane. <p></p> <p></p> Now the ball is completely in Rajasthan Royals' court. Yes, Smith was dishonest in allowing a youngster to tamper with the ball. He has set a very bad example but Rajasthan's plans revolve around Smith, a senior BCCI official told PTI. <p></p> <p></p> We think Rajasthan will like to start with a clean slate without any controversy. So it would be easier if Smith decides to play as a batsman only and let someone else take over the mantle of captaincy, the official said. <p></p> <p></p>India s Test vice-captain Rahane is also saleable as a brand -- a must for all IPL franchises.