Rajasthan Royals could release their captain Steve Smith ahead of the IPL 2021 auction after a review of their performance in the 13th season of the annual league which was held in UAE last year. With six wins and eight defeats, Rajasthan finished the season at the bottom of the pile, failing to make the playoffs for a third successive season.

According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, Smith’s indifferent form during IPL 13 is one of the prime reasons why the winner of the inaugural season want to head into a different direction. Additionally, his contribution as a leader wasn’t up to the mark either.

Smith was one of the five Rajasthan players to have played all the 14 league matches last season. He started the season with a bang, hitting consecutive half-centuries before fading out. He finished with 311 runs at an average of 25.91 including three fifties.

Smith was appointed Rajasthan captain in 2019 after the incumbent Ajinkya Rahane was sacked following a poor start to the season. This was despite Rahane leading them to playoffs in 2018.

Should Smith indeed be let go of, wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson leads the race to take over as the franchise captain. Samson was their top run-getter in IPL 13 with 375 runs at 28.84 including three half-centuries.

That RR aren’t looking towards Jos Buttler or Ben Stokes for the leadership role stems from the fact that neither is a guarantee to play an entire season owing to international commitments.

Meanwhile, Smith is unhappy at the allegations of him scuffing Rishabh Pant’s guard mark on the fifth and final day of the Sydney Test which ended in a thrilling draw on Monday.

“… I have spoken to Steve about this. And I know he’s really disappointed with the way it’s come across. If you’ve watched Steve Smith play Test cricket, that’s something he does every single game, five or six times a day. He’s always standing in the batting crease, shadow batting. We know he’s got those many Steve Smith quirks and one of them is he’s always marking centre,” Paine said during a media interaction on Tuesday.