Australian captain Steve Smith has been announced as the captain of the Rajasthan Royals for the 11th edition of Indian Premier League at a show hosted by Star Sports. This is the first time in the IPL history when a team captain was announced on live TV.
The show ‘Phir Halla Bol – Return of the Royals’ was aired on Star Sports 1/1HD/Star Sports 1 Hindi & 1 HD Hindi wherein the Royals mentor Shane Warne, Head of Cricket, Zubin Bharucha and team co-owner, Manoj Badale announced Steve Smith as the captain of the side for this season.
Rajasthan Royal’s Head of Cricket, Zubin Bharucha said, “We have some great players and cricketing minds in the team with proven leaders like Steve Smith and Ajinkya Rahane. We came to the conclusion that Steve Smith would be the ideal candidate for the job. Smith has been incredible as captain of Australia. He is someone who leads the team by example.”
Shane Warne, who is serving as the team’s mentor, said, “We will play the Royals’ brand of cricket, that is, with spirit and aggression, with which we are known to play with. I am looking forward to exciting cricket and a successful campaign.”
Smith, on his part, said he is looking forward to work with his legendary countryman. “Its great to be back with the Royals. It’s an honour and a privilege to be leading Royals and i’m looking forward to working with the King (Shane Warne).”
Considered one of the best batsman in the world at present, Smith was part of the Royals squad in 2014 and 2015 and was retained by the franchise for 12.5 crores.
Smith had led the Rising Pune Supergiant last year to the final of the IPL where they eventually lost to champions Mumbai Indians. Smith had scored 472 runs in 15 matches in the last IPL season.
Smith’s performance as Australia captain is also impeccable. Recently, Smith broke several batting records while leading Australia to the Ashes title, establishing himself as a great leader and cricketer.
Royals co-owner Manoj Badale adds that Smith has had a long association with the franchise and can help in the development of the team and the franchise for a long time.
“Smudge has been with the Royals in the past. He is a very passionate and influential player and we are excited to have him with us again. Taking the core of the Royals, and supplementing with new talent makes for an exciting squad,” said Manoj.
Rajasthan Royals will kick-off their season with an away fixture against Sunrisers Hyderabad on 9th April followed by a home game against Delhi Daredevils on 11th April 11 at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.