Steve Smith stepped down from Rajasthan Royals captaincy ahead of the eleventh edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Monday. India batsman Ajinkya Rahane will now lead the side.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Sunday banned Australia captain Smith for a Test and fined him 100 percent of his match fee for conspiring with his team’s “leadership group” in ball-tampering during the third Test against South Africa. Cameron Bancroft, meanwhile, was fined 75% of his match fee and got three demerit points.
Bancroft was designated to tamper with the ball and he was caught by television cameras.
Smith had also to give up Australia captaincy for the remainder of the match that South Africa won by 322 runs to take a 2-1 lead in the four-game series. David Warner too had to give up his vice-captaincy role in the wake of the scandal.
Following Smith’s admission, Cricket Australia launched an investigation amid calls for his permanent removal from Australia captaincy. The Australian Sports Commission (ASC), however, insisted that Smith be sacked without further ado. Some reports even suggested that a life ban was being mulled for both Smith and Warner.
“This [Smith’s removal] can occur while Cricket Australia completes a full investigation. The ASC condemns cheating of any form in sport. The ASC expects and requires that Australian teams and athletes demonstrate unimpeachable integrity in representing our country,” ASC said.
Rajasthan Royals will play their first game on April 9 against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.
“The incident in Cape Town has certainly disturbed the cricket world. We have been in constant touch with the BCCI and taken their counsel. Furthermore, we have been in regular contact with Steve. Ajinkya Rahane has been an integral part of the Royals family for a long time now and he understands the culture and values of our team. We have absolutely no doubt that he will be a great leader of the Rajasthan Royals,” Zubin Bharucha, Head of Cricket at Rajastan Royals Royals, said.